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City Council Approves Energy-Efficiency Loan Program Agreement

St. Louis County SAVES will provide $10.4 million in low-interest loans on home improvement projects that save energy.

A new, low-interest loan program is now available to Chesterfield residents to help improve energy efficiency in their homes.

Chesterfield City Council voted to opt into the program, called St. Louis County SAVES (Sustainable and Verifiable Energy Savings), at their meeting Monday night. Qualified applicants can borrow between $2,500 and $15,000 at a 3.5-percent interest rate to make energy-efficient home improvements.

The loans can be used for projects that could help reduce utility bills, including air and duct sealing, new windows, doors and roofs and high efficiency heating/air-conditioning and water heating equipment. Review the PDF file available on this page for a complete list of eligible improvements.

“The benefit is twofold,” County Executive Charlie Dooley said at a press conference in late May when the program was announced. “We’re helping homeowners in the county go green, and we’re putting people back to work.”

Chesterfield City Administrator Michael Herring said at Monday's council meeting that at least three residents have asked the city how they can participate since the county announced the program in May.

Applicants must live in St. Louis County in an owner-occupied home, have a credit score greater than 660 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent. The loan’s annual percentage rate will vary depending on the amount and length of the loan.

Anne Klein, the county’s director of energy sustainability, said the county obtained the $10.4 million in federally subsidized energy conservation bonds through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. She said the county’s borrowing rate is less than 1 percent, which is why it can offer the 3.5-percent interest rate to applicants.

“If a homeowner applied for a home improvement loan through a bank, the interest would probably cost between 8 and 9 percent,” she said.

Klein said residents who live in incorporated cities within the county can apply after the in which they live must first enter into a cooperative agreement with St. Louis County Saves. City council approved that agreement Monday night with a 6-0 vote. Ward 3 Councilman Randy Logan and Ward 2 Councilman Derek Grier were absent.

Klein also noted that residents must use contractors who have applied and been authorized to participate in the program. Klein added that for the first six months of the program, homeowners would not have to have a home energy assessment prior to applying for the loan.

However, Marc Bluestone, president of Home Green Home, said that the cost of a home assessment—which averages between $400 and $500—could result in a savings. His company specializes in energy auditing and is an authorized program contractor.

“It only takes three to four hours, and it identifies precisely what improvements you need,” he said.

The program is a joint partnership between St. Louis County, Earthways Center—a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden—and Abundant Power Solutions of North Charlotte, NC.

St. Louis County is the primary sponsor. Earthways Center will be providing contractor training, energy efficiency verification and marketing support for the program. Abundant Power, which has rolled out similar programs in Alabama and South Carolina, will facilitate the loans.

For more information or to apply for a loan, visit St. Louis County SAVES.

Chesterfield Patch Editor Rachel Heaton contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been corrected to accurately reflect which councilmen were absent from the meeting. It was last edited at 10 a.m. on June 21.

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