Allentown couple 10,000th participant in AFC Energy program
An Allentown couple was honored recently for taking out the 10,000th loan in the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) to upgrade the heating system, increase the comfort level and save money at their home.
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord visited the Allen Street, West End Allentown, home of David and Michelle Olson to mark the milestone and to help raise the profile of the loan program so more homeowners can gain the advantages that an energy upgrade can provide.
"While this milestone is worth noting, it's even more instructive to examine what these low-interest loans have made possible," McCord said. "Families are saving over $2.3 million annually on their utility and fuel bills because they are using less energy."
"That helps lower the state's carbon footprint and provides truly 'green jobs' for contractors approved to make the upgrade improvements," McCord said.
Keystone HELP-financed home improvements prevent 22,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, or the equivalent of taking 4,000 vehicles off the road, according to McCord.
The Olsons' Keystone HELP loan provided the funds to replace an old, inefficient oil heater with a more energy-efficient gas unit.
The couple also added insulation to their home to prevent heat from escaping, which can cost homeowners hundreds of dollars a year.
McCord said the low-interest loans can be used for energy conservation improvement such as replacing inefficient windows, heating and cooling units, adding insulation or making whole house improvements.
Pennsylvania's Treasury Department worked with AFC First Financial, Brookside Road, Wescosville, which administers Keystone HELP, and West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund to launch the program statewide in 2006.
When whole house energy improvements are made that meet Energy Star guidelines and are part of a comprehensive blower door-directed air sealing, insulation and other energy saving measures, homeowners can borrow a maximum $15,000 unsecured loan or secured loan up to $35,000.
The statewide interest rate is 2.99 percent, with several southeastern counties offering subsidized loans at a 0.99 percent rate.
AFC First Financial Corp., founded in 1947, is a national leader in residential energy efficiency and renewable energy lending through its EnergyLoan partnership with states, utilities, manufacturers and municipalities.
AFC Chairman Peter Krajsa said the programs are offered through a network of more than 3,000 approved contractors who sell, install and service high-efficiency heating, air conditioning, weatherization and whole house remodeling and alternative energy-related home improvements.
AFC First is one of three approved Fannie Mae lenders in the United States and is the lender and administrator for the Pennsylvania HELP program.
In an expansion of its contractor and consumer training,, AFC First recently opened the Green Energy Training Center supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Information: afcfirst. com, energyloan. net, keystonehelp.com