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Alaska editorial: Help on energy

Posted: September 8, 2012 - 11:06pm

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

As heat will begin flying out of Ketchikan’s old buildings in a few weeks as fall sets in and winter not far behind it, any way to patch the cracks and holes is welcome.

The state Department of Commerce seems to understand. It is making loans for energy conservation available. Loan funds may be used for retrofitting and alternative energy systems.

“This fund offers building owners the opportunity to realize long-term energy costs savings through building improvements and alternative energy systems,” says Susan Bell, commissioner of the Department of Commerce and former Ketchikan resident. “The new fund complements other energy saving programs for homeowners and communities also offered by the state.”

Alternative energy systems might be equipment that uses solar energy for electricity, heating or cooling; wind turbines of not more than 100 kilowatts or a high-efficiency pellet or grain stove. Granted, all might not work for Ketchikan, but some might and the list here isn’t the extent of possibilities.

Examples of conservation improvements might be structural insulation; thermal windows and doors; or converting boilers or furnaces to use high-efficiency burners, according to DOC.

A commercial building owner may realize as much as $50,000 in loan funds. A request of funds exceeding $30,000 will require a letter of denial from a private financial institution. For approved loans, the maximum term will be 20 years with a 5-percent interest rate.

Other rules include: Applicants must reside within Alaska for at least 12 months before applying, and the loan must result in energy conservation or alternative energy production. Undoubtedly, other rules will be found in the small print.

Further information is available at www.commerce.alaska.gov/ded/fin.

The deadline to submit an application for the Alternative Energy and Conservation Revolving Loan Fund is Sept. 10.

This is a good opportunity for commercial building owners to lower their or their renters’ costs. It’s not for all, but it might make lower energy affordable for some.

But for those still seeking ways to stem the rise of high energy costs, this might be helpful.

Check it out.

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