Berkley, CA, funds solar panels for homeowners with a Voluntary Environmental Improvement Bond. In its first year, over 40 homeowners have elected to repay the loan over 30 years through property tax assessments.
Pendleton, OR, has replaced 134 through a low interest loan program backed by a HUD Block Grant.
Routt County, CO, has replaced over 400 older burning wood stoves using funds from a $250,000 state environmental project settlement.
The states of Idaho, Montana, and Oregon offer tax incentives for residents who purchase certain wood-burning appliances.
EPA is working with several state and local agencies to help promote the most favorable financing terms for homeowners to purchase cleaner-burning appliances. Many local governments are considering finance concepts, such as voluntary environmental improvement programs, to reduce air pollution and make cleaner burning appliances affordable for homeowners. Visit the Federal, State and Tribal Funding page for available federal grant and loan information.
Supplemental Environmental Program (SEP)
- Environmentally beneficial project that a violator of an environmental law voluntarily agrees to undertake in the settlement of a civil enforcement action.
- Improves the environmental health of a community (or communities) that have been put at risk due to a violation of an environmental law.
- EPA maintains a list of areas and organizations with past or current interest in pursuing a wood-burning appliance changeout or retrofit project (PDF) (7pp, 41k, About PDF). Litigants developing settlement agreements may find the list to be helpful when considering potential mitigation projects or Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). The list includes areas and organizations:
- where changeout/retrofit projects have occurred;
- with changeout/retrofit projects currently underway; and
- that have expressed an interest in changeout/retrofit projects.
- An effective way to leverage resources that can make significant impacts on public health and the environment. See Guidance for Using State Environmental Projects to Implement Wood Stove Changeout Programs (PDF) (24pp, 100k, About PDF)
- The following documents may be useful in drafting consent decrees and mitigation plans for SEPs:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
(As of July 2010, the Pace financing program is on hold) PACE is a local government program that allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements using low‐interest bonds that generally have no recourse to the municipality. Interested residential and commercial property owners opt‐in to receive long term financing (e.g., 20 years) for these improvements, which is repaid through an assessment on their property taxes. This arrangement spreads the cost of clean energy improvements – such as energy efficient wood stoves, upgraded insulation, new windows, solar installations, etc – over the expected life of the measure and allows for the repayment obligation to automatically transfer to the next property owner if the property is sold.
Voluntary Environmental Improvement Bonds
Several areas have implemented voluntary environmental improvement bonds to finance energy saving programs for homeowners. EPA does not offer these bonds, but encourages areas to consider them when looking for tools to finance changeouts.
- Allows homeowners to use property as collateral for a loan.
- No upfront costs to the homeowner.
- May require state enabling legislation.
- For more details, see “Voluntary Environmental Improvement Programs” or view EPA's Innovative Financing Tools presentation (PDF) (5pp, 59k, About PDF)
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (2009)
Projects may be funded as community and infrastructure programs; including weatherization projects. Most of the ARRA funding has been released to state agencies. Talk with your local or state ARRA contact or visit ARRA’s website for more information on how these funds can be used in your area. You can also visit the Federal, State and Tribal Funding page for available grant and loan information.