Residential electric customers participating in the Home Performance with Energy Star program can finance the suggested energy efficiency improvements through our loan program. Please download a loan application to apply for the program. Please note, you can fill out the form using your computer but you must print it and sign the form.
You will receive a FREE energy efficiency score certificate for participating in the program!
Energy efficiency assessment by our certified Home Performance contractor
Insulation (attic, walls, floor joists, ductwork)
Sealing air leaks
Natural gas furnace (with installation of an air conditioner or heat pump)
Upgrade electric wiring to install insulation
Heat pump water heater
You can select your terms and interest rate by determining the length of your loan.
The loan program is financed from the enterprise fund of Columbia Water & Light. No general revenue funds of the city, or any other forms of public money, are used by the program.
*Loans are not available for new construction. A commercial loan program is available for property owners of other types of existing buildings.
**Single family homes are eligible. A duplex or a condominium could be eligible if it has three major walls exposed to outside conditions and more than 900 square feet of attic space. If the unit’s size ranges from 700 to 899 square feet, the customer is eligible for all the rebates if a qualified air conditioner or heat pump is installed.
You will receive the check for your loan at the end of this appointment. Your monthly payment for the loan will be added to your utility bill from the City of Columbia.
Building Assessment: must be completed by one of our Certified Home Performance Contractors. Due to the time and equipment needed for the assessment, it can cost $200 to $400. If you qualify for the loan program, you may finance the cost of the assessment with the loan.
Insulation Requirement: To maximize the efficiency of your energy improvements, the Home Performance Loan program requires insulation levels in key areas: Attic Insulation: R-50 required, Floor Insulation over unconditioned space: R-19 required, Crawl Space Walls OR Floors Above Crawl Space: R-10 required with vapor barrier covering the ground, Duct Insulation: R-13 required in unheated areas, Rim Joist Insulation: R-13 required.
Heating and Cooling Systems: Allows for replacement of a natural gas, propane or electric furnace — if it is installed along with a new central air conditioner with an efficiency rating of 14 SEER or higher.
Heat Pumps: All financed heat pumps must have minimum efficiency ratings of 15 SEER. Customers installing a high efficiency heat pump can sign up for a reduced electric rate during the months of October through May.
Windows and Doors: If new windows and doors are installed, they must be rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) with a minimum U-value of 0.30 and low E for windows to be eligible for a loan.
Duct Sealing: Requires an additional duct blaster test before and after the sealing is completed so the supply and return ducts to achieve the lowest leakage rate possible
Building and Envelope Sealing: During the blower door test, the contractor will identify sealing air leaks along the building envelope to achieve the lowest ACH (air changes per hour) possible.
Solar Water Heaters: Solar water heaters that provide at least 50% of water heating costs are eligible. Solar systems must utilize an active solar heat collector. All solar heating projects must be permitted and approved by the Building and Site Development division of the Community Development Department. Pool solar water heaters are not eligible.
Heat Pump Water Heaters: All financed heat pump water heaters must have a minimum energy factor of two. All water heaters must have a plumbing permit from the Protective Inspection division and a completed final inspection.
If you refinance your current home loan or sell your house, you will be required to pay off the Home Performance Loan.
Requesting Subordination: Requesting subordination of your Home Performance Loan generally takes at least two months. If you are refinancing your mortgage for a lower interest rate, shorter loan term, in order to maintain ownership of the home or borrow more money for a home improvement project, you could be eligible for subordination. A copy of the customer’s current credit score, the appraisal used for refinancing, a copy of the mortgage application and the Good Faith Estimate, and previous mortgage information will need to be submitted. The loan committee will review the subordination requests to determine if a customer is eligible. Please contact us if you have any questions about subordination.
This information taken from Columbia Ordinance - Chapter 27, Section 27-167