The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features questions asked about 5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans. Loan forms may be obtained from participating lenders or the Energy Office, or at the agency's web site.

Loans as of December 30, 2000:  17,429 Loans for $129.2 million

Questions and Answers...
5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

If emergency approval to replace a cooling system has been received, can heating and water heating systems be installed at the same time?
The Energy Office allows this, if all units meet the minimum standards and have been approved at the same time as the cooling system. It is usually easier and less expensive to install all of the systems at the same time, which saves borrower's added expenses.

   Last fall, I learned the Energy Office was expediting the review of energy audits for irrigation projects because of the extreme dry spell being experienced in much of the state. Are these projects still being expedited?
The Energy Office is no longer giving priority to irrigation projects. With the moisture relief experienced over the past few months and the increase in demand in loan applications from all the sectors, the Energy Office is processing loan applications and technical audits in the order they are received.

My utility bills were quite high over the winter months and I was wondering if there were any resources available to me to help identify improvements I could be making to help soften the impact of continued high fuel prices?
The loan program application Forms 1, 2, 3 and 4 list a variety of improvements you can make which will typically have a 10 to 15 year payback, depending on the age and condition of the equipment being replaced or the building or home being improved. If you would rather have an energy audit conducted to more clearly identify cost effective improvements before you make a decision to undertake any improvements, you could contact a rater certified under the Nebraska Home Energy Rating System to conduct a rating analysis and provide you with a report and list of suggested energy efficiency improvements. These ratings also can be done on small multi-family dwellings. If you own a commercial business or a larger multi-family building, you could contact an engineering or architectural firm which provides those services. The Energy Office maintains a list of certified home energy raters and energy auditors participating in the Dollar and Energy Saving Loan Program.

Has the recent surge in fuel costs, the dry weather experienced by farmers and ranchers, and a colder than usual winter in most parts of the state, affected demand for Dollar and Energy Savings Loans?
Even with the addition of $600,000 in oil overcharge funds to the loan pool, all the funds which are available have been committed to applications or invested in loans. Now, the Energy Office must rely on repayments to fund new applications. If repayments are insufficient for the demand, the Energy Office will establish a waiting list for completed applications eligible for funding and commit funds to those applications in the order in which they have been received and found to be eligible and complete.

If a waiting list for loans develops and my loan application is on the list, may I go ahead and do my project?
No. Projects may not be contracted for or started before the Energy Office has signed a Commitment Agreement with your lender for our share of the loan. If you move ahead with your project before that happens, you are no longer eligible for a loan. The only exceptions to this situation are emergency heating system replacements in the winter and emergency cooling system replacements for medical reasons in the summer, which require prior approval.

Do you have to submit more than one form for some projects such as doors, windows, roofs and siding? If so, what application forms must be completed along with project estimates?
Application Form 2, Door, Window, Wall and Ceiling Projects, must be completed and submitted by the loan applicant for all projects listed on that form. In addition to Form 2, the loan applicant and contractor must complete and submit Form 2/Siding if the wall insulation project includes siding; Form 2/Roofing if the attic or ceiling insulation project includes roof repair or replacement; and Form 2/Window/Door if the project is for the replacement of windows or exterior doors. All borrower forms can be downloaded from the agency's web site,

If a cooling system breaks down during warm weather, can emergency approval be obtained to install a new system before the loan process has been completed?
If the cooling system breaks down any time during April through October, you can request emergency approval from the Energy Office through your lender to install qualifying equipment prior to the loan process being completed and the Energy Office committing funds to the project. However, your lender must provide the Energy Office with a written statement from a doctor verifying there is a medical reason the cooling system must be installed immediately. Information on the system being installed must also be supplied.
In these situations, the Energy Office will review the request and notify the lender whether or not emergency approval has been granted, usually the same day. After Energy Office approval, the project may be started and the loan paperwork submitted as soon as the system is installed.