Loan program helping Lethbridge residents afford home improvement projects – Lethbridge

Lethbridge has become the ninth community in Alberta to launch a program helping residents pay for energy efficient and renewable energy upgrades to their homes.

The Clean Energy Improvement Program through Alberta Municipalities helps to eliminate the upfront cost of installing items like new windows, doors, solar panels, lighting fixtures and more to residential properties by offering low-interest financing through the city.

Residents can pay off the loan for the span of up to 20 years — depending on the project — which is added to property tax payments. The cost of the improvement must be between $3,000 and $50,000 dollars.

“Alberta Municipalities is pleased to support the City of Lethbridge as it introduces its Clean Energy Improvement Program,” said Cathy Heron, the president of Alberta Municipalities.

“This program will help residential property invest in energy efficiency upgrades or owners of renewable energy installations, making their properties more comfortable while enhancing their property values ​​and saving energy costs.”

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The CEIP entered development around five years ago and has seen success in Calgary, Edmonton, Canmore, Athabasca, Devon, Leduc, Rocky Mountain House and St. Albert.

Pre-qualification applications were being accepted from Lethbridge residents as of Tuesday, and Major Blaine Hyggen said they were rolling in early.

“I think it’s fantastic to be able to see what it’s done in other areas, (and with) us being able to come on board, it’s great,” he said.

During the four-year pilot, the city said an estimated 180 homeowners would benefit.

Alberta Municipalities facilitates it, while the City of Lethbridge has received $3.8 million in assistance from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Green Municipal Fund for its implementation.

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In addition, the program can be stacked with other grants such as those offered through Canada Greener Homes, and the city is offering an $800 incentive to residents who complete projects on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kathleen Sheppard, executive director with Environment Lethbridge, is looking forward to the long-term environmental benefits.

“At Lethbridge Environment, we know that one of the big barriers for homeowners when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy is the upfront cost, and so this program is a way for homeowners to really manage that cost,” she said.

“We do have a lot of older homes and if you’re in a home with single-pane windows and you have the opportunity to upgrade those windows, you’ll notice a decrease in your energy costs right away.”

An application needs to be submitted and approved before any work begins on the project; it does not apply post factum.

More information and terms and conditions are available through the Alberta Municipalities website.

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