Lake Country Resources Initiative adminsters ODOE- and USDA-funded Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund
By South Central Oregon Economic Development District Executive Director Betty Riley
Upgrading and improving energy efficiency and heating can be a challenge. A very expensive challenge. However, Lake County business and building owners looking to improve their heating and energy resources may be in luck. Funded through the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) and USDA Rural Development, the Commercial Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund is available to help finance improvements in the overall energy efficiency performance of commercial buildings, resulting in decreased energy costs.
The program, which is also being run through Lake County Resources Initiative in Lakeview, could include improvements to several areas of a particular business or building. Jim Walls of LCRI says that the audit could save businesses or building owners hundred of dollars.
“Just on heating costs alone during the winter months, we’ve estimated that each specific building or business could save between $300-600,” Walls says.
To qualify for the program, the business must be in Lake County and own the facility they operate out of. LCRI has been working on the preliminary audits since October and has already spent $6,000 of their $10,000 budget to oversee the preliminary audits. “It’s huge, especially in the Lakeview area, because we are so reliant on heating oil and fuel,” Walls said.
Walls and colleague Bob Rogers of LCRI will set up the appointments and audits for business and building owners. The services will then be performed by certified professionals and the actual audit is free of charge. Following the audit, the business or building will be eligible for a three to five percent loan to perform the suggested upgrades. Singing up for a loan is not required.
According to the South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD), the activities will include, but are not limited to, the following: improvements to the building envelope, including air sealing and insulation in the walls, attics, and foundations; improvements to HVAC equipment and air exchange; installation of renewable energy systems; improvements to lighting and other electrical systems; and the conduction of comprehensive fuel-blind energy audits.
Those eligible for the loan include private, for profit business concerns and non-profits managing commercial buildings. The Revolving Loan Fund must be located in either Lake or Klamath County and have a reasonable assurance of repayment.
Recently, Rogers advocated for a home energy audit program that residents are eligible for in Lake County. The program, put on by Clean Energy Works Oregon, offers an energy audit, a $500 value, free of charge, for homes built before 1993.
All of those in Lake County with homes that qualify can participate in the program.
By participating in the audit, people can qualify for a low interest loan to perform recommended energy measures and updates. However, those who undertake the audit do not have to sign up for the loan.
SCOEDD is also working with a loan program offered through the Klamath Lake regional Housing Center and the Klamath-Lake Center for Community Renewal center, called the Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program, which serves Klamath and Lake Counties. A third program is funded through the USDA and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide financing opportunities to businesses in Klamath and Lake Counties.
For more information on the Commercial Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan fund, click here, or call Lake County Resources Initiative at 541-947-5461.
For information on the programs offered through SCOEDD, call Sara Griffiths at 541-947-6013.