The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features questions asked about 6% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans. Loan forms may be obtained from participating lenders or the Energy Office.

Questions and Answers...

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Has the maximum interest rate for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans been lowered?

Yes. Since February 1, 1995, the maximum interest rate for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans has been 6 percent. However, long-term interest rates have declined since 1995 and stabilized at lower levels. To keep loans competitive and continue to provide incentives for borrowers to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes and businesses, the interest rate on loans was reduced to 5 percent effective June 7, 1999.

Loan limits on single family and multi-family homes were also raised to $25,000 and $75,000 respectively.

Are there even lower rates available for loans for waste minimization projects in business operations?

Yes. Loans at 2.5 percent are available to Nebraska businesses and manufacturers, as well as Climate Wise and Rebuild Nebraska partners who have facilities in Nebraska to undertake eligible waste minimization projects. These loans are available for any projects that are completed and funded by December 31, 1999. Eligible projects vary from pollution prevention assessments, projects to reduce air pollution, water pollution and water use reduction, solid waste
reduction, recovery and reuse of solvents and waste oil, recycling equipment and compaction of waste prior to landfilling. For more information about these specialized loans, contact Kirk Conger in the Energy Office.

If an air conditioning system fails during the summer cooling season, can an immediate replacement be financed with a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan?

Yes. From April through October, the Energy Office will give emergency approval, if requested by the lender, for the installation of qualifying air conditioning equipment before the loan paperwork is processed. However, emergency approvals are given only when there is a medical reason to have the air conditioning. A request for an emergency approval has to be accompanied by a statement from the borrower's doctor describing the medical necessity. In all emergency situations, the new equipment must meet the minimum standards of performance listed on Form 3 for the Heating, Cooling and Water Heating Projects.

How can buyers and homeowners find out the energy efficiency of their houses and what improvements could be made to reduce energy bills?

The Energy Office recently received funds from the U.S. Department of
Energy to establish a home energy rating system in Nebraska. The Energy Office has certified home energy raters on staff and will provide a home energy rating on homes in Nebraska at no cost through the end of the year. A home energy rating is a standard measurement of a home's energy efficiency and requires an on-site inspection by a certified rater. The energy rating allows the homeowner or buyer to easily compare energy costs with other homes and to evaluate and pinpoint cost-effective improvements. The rating is recognized by mortgage lenders and can be used to include the financing of energy saving improvements in a first mortgage.

The Energy Office and Fannie Mae are also assisting in the training and certification of raters elsewhere in Nebraska. By the end of the year, there will be 40 to 50 certified raters statewide available to conduct home energy ratings. After the end of the year, the Energy Office will discontinue providing ratings at no cost. Those who have been trained and certified will then conduct ratings for a fee. The Energy Office will maintain the system, ensure quality control, archive ratings and train raters.

Contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office for more information on home energy ratings.

Return to the Spring 1999 Newsletter