Homeowners across the Berkshires who want to reduce their carbon footprint may now be eligible for no-interest loans though Greylock Federal Credit Union.
The credit union has begun participating with local utility companies in the Heat Loan program run by Mass Save.
So far, Greylock has given out six loans, averaging $8,000, for new heating systems and window replacements, according to John Bissell, executive vice president of the credit union.
"We’re excited about the program," he said. "We think it’s a win-win opportunity for homeowners looking to cut down on bills and save energy."
The Heat Loan program offers loans as much as $15,000 with up to a seven-year payback period to cover the cost of any energy-saving item.
William Stack, energy efficiency spokesman for Western Massachusetts Electric Co., said savings over the duration of the payback period could potentially pay for the work itself.
"That’s why this program is so successful," he said. "It’s been extremely popular and is quickly becoming a national model."
Mass Save began the initiative by serving as middleman between local utility companies and banks. In 2013, Massachusetts residents borrowed more than $88 million through the Heat Loan program.
Though offered elsewhere in the state, these loans have been available only in Northern Berkshire, through MountainOne, to this point.
"We are doing our part to help people reduce their heating fuel costs while supporting community efforts to become ‘greener’ and save the environment," Greylock President Marilyn L. Sperling said.
Other partners in the program include Berkshire Gas and National Grid.
Robert Gyurjan, a lead analyst with Berkshire Gas, said the expansion through Greylock leaves the county "well covered."
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission members have said Pittsfield homeowners whose family income hits in the $60,000 to $100,000 range don’t qualify for low-income weatherization incentives and often believe their homes are efficient enough. The program is perfect for such people, members said.
Where to call ...
To qualify, prospective borrowers must first approach a Mass Save energy auditor for a home energy assessment. For information, call Mass Save at 866-527-7283.
To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD