From the community

Camden Gets First PACE Project

Posted March 12, 2012, at 2:21 p.m.
Last modified March 12, 2012, at 2:52 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — Camden Select Board Member Jim Heard is getting an energy efficiency upgrade, thanks to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program and Evergreen Home Performance. Heard and his wife, Misty Van Kennen, are the first Camden residents to take advantage of what he calls “this incredible opportunity.”

Under PACE, the Property Assisted Clean Energy program, homeowners pursuing eligible energy improvements can borrow up to $15,000 at 4.99 percent. The loans have a term of up to 15 years and are transferrable upon the sale of a property. “At these rates, and amortized over this many years – PACE makes energy efficiency really affordable, even if cash flow is a concern,” said Heard. “This will be money well spent.”

Heard and Van Kennen worked with Rockland-based energy efficiency contractor Evergreen Home Performance to engineer a comprehensive project that improves their comfort and reduces their overall energy use by at least 25%, as required by PACE.

Energy Advisor Brian Robinson recommended sealing attic air leaks and installing dense-packed cellulose in the attic and sidewalls. “The fiberglass they had in the attic really wasn’t the right product for the job, and it wasn’t very well installed,” Robinson explained. Fiberglass insulation is porous, which means any drafts travel through it easily. Air sealing prevents those drafts, and dense-packed cellulose provides a much more efficient layer of insulation.

“I really hope people will recognize what an opportunity this is and jump on board,” said Heard. “I don’t like heating the outdoors if I don’t have to, and this is something we can do to control how much energy we use.”

Federally funded and administered by Efficiency Maine, the PACE program must be authorized in each municipality before homeowners can apply for a loan, and was adopted by Camden voters last November.

The PACE program is available in many local communities, and Rockland homeowners Michael and Jody Herbert were the first in the state to receive PACE financing. Rising oil prices and unsustainable consumption – four tons of wood pellets and 800 gallons of propane last year – had prompted the Herberts to consider leaving the small 1880s home that’s been in the family since the 1930s. “Energy prices kept going up,” said Michael Herbert. “We knew we needed to insulate to continue to live here, but with two daughters in college, we couldn’t do anything until these loans became available.” A PACE-financed efficiency project with Evergreen Home Performance cut their energy consumption by 35%.

For more information about PACE, including a list of the 108 Maine municipalities that have already authorized the program, visit www.SaveLikeaMainer.com.

For more information about energy efficiency audits and contracting, visit www.EvergreenYourHome.com.

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