Benjamin Franklin on a $100 bill
The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features questions asked about 5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.

Loan forms may be obtained from participating lenders or the Energy Office, or the agency's web site.

Questions and Answers...

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Who are the participating lenders that offer Dollar and Energy Saving Loans?

Lenders who can offer the loans are Nebraska banks, savings institutions, or credit unions. A participating lender must be a Nebraska chartered institution, or if the lender is national in scope,it must be a Nebraska corporation. The energy loans must be originated and serviced at a Nebraska location. Please check with your lender to see if Dollar and Energy Saving Loans are available, or contact the Energy Office for the names of lenders in your area who participate in the program.

If you want to get a loan now to replace a heating and cooling system, but postpone other work such as replacing windows until later, can you obtain more than one energy loan?

Borrowers may obtain more than one loan for eligible projects, provided they do not exceed the dollar amount for that sector:

In addition, the borrower will have to comply with the lenders' credit underwriting policies on the number and dollar amount of loans.

Who fills out the application forms for the Dollar and Energy Saving Loans?

The forms were developed for the borrower to complete with information provided to them by their contractor. The contractor's bid needs to have sufficient enough detail to allow the borrower to fill out the application form completely and accurately. Contractors or lenders familiar with the program may be able to assist the borrower in completing the forms. The borrower also may contact Jody or Bruce in the Energy Office with any questions they have on completing the application form. Call 402-471-2186.

To obtain forms online, go to the Energy Office web site at DESL forms, select the type of improvements you want to make, print out the necessary form or forms needed.

If the application is completed, submitted and the Energy Office has approved the project, is there still a funding backlog holding up projects?

Sufficient loan repayments were submitted in January to resume same day loan commitments. As long as repayments exceed dollars requested in new applications, no delays are anticipated.

What costs can be included in an energy loan?

Any costs needed to make a pre-qualified improvement, such as upgrading the electrical service when installing a heating or cooling system, roof repairs or a new roof to protect new attic or ceiling insulation, siding to protect exterior wall insulation, and removal of old equipment or asbestos can be included.

This also applies to improvements identified in an energy audit. However, the project will only be eligible for the a loan if it can be shown in the audit that the costs of the project can be recovered by the energy dollar savings within the specified period of time:

Costs might also include infrastructure for changing the energy type, if that type of change needs to be made to complete the project.

Where can information about Dollar and Energy Saving Loans be obtained?

Many lenders, contractors and vendors have brochures and application forms on hand, as do utilities across the state. Materials such as applications can also be obtained from the Energy Office in Lincoln, or can be accessed at the agency’s web site, DESL forms.

How do you know the planned home improvements — or those planned in a commercial building — will be cost effective and have a significant impact on your energy bills?

There are more than 30 home energy raters in Nebraska certified under the Nebraska Home Energy Rating System, which is administered by the Energy Office. These raters are trained to conduct a rating on your home and provide you with a report that tells you how efficient energy use in your home is, and what improvements you can make to improve its rating.

A list of the certified raters may be obtained from the Energy Office upon request.

An evaluation of a commercial building generally requires the expertise of an architect or engineer. Some utilities have trained staff members who can provide this service.

The cost of a home energy rating typically ranges from $250 to $350.

A commercial building evaluation will vary with the use, size and complexity of the building. Hourly rates for an architect or engineer typically cost $75.Studies of commercial buildings can take at least 10 hours or more.

Does it make a difference if the improvement is planned for a home outside the city limits?

As long as the buildings or systems being improved are located in Nebraska, Dollar and Energy Saving Loans may be used to finance improvements. Only legal residents of Nebraska may apply for a loan. A legal resident is a Nebraska taxpayer, a Nebraska chartered corporation, a subdivision of Nebraska government (except public school districts) or a person who has maintained a permanent residence and lived in the state for more than six months.

What is the process for getting a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan?

A brochure, Dollar and Energy Saving Loans at 5% Interest or Less for Home, Building and System Improvements and More, outlines the process for getting loans. You will also find information on typical improvements that can be made, loan limits, emergencies and other loan details and incidental costs. Brochures may also be requested from the Energy Office. Many lenders and contractors have brochures as well.