TALLMADGE - Residents can apply for financial help when making energy saving improvements to their homes. 

Council members have unanimously approved the ordinance and resolution approving the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District Residential Program Plan and its amendments.

The City Residential PACE Cooperative Agreement authorizes the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to approve petitions and plans for public improvements or public services submitted by the owners of real property within the city. The Port authority can finance the program, according to Chris Burnham, Development Finance Authority president, who spoke to Council in July.

Property owners can visit www.renovateamerica.com/ohio for information about the program or call 1-877-747-4889 or 855-HERO-411. The area contact is Dustin Reilich at dreilich@renovateamerica.com

The loans would be for home upgrades or improvements that affect energy consumption such as HVAC, furnace, roofing, windows and doors or insulation, Burnham said.

The program provides 100 percent financing, low fixed interest rates and fixed payment terms from five to 20 years. The interest rates can range from 2.99 percent to 8 percent depending on the use of improvement, Burnham said.

"There are a lot of properties in Summit County," Burnham said. "It's very useful."

The residential PACE program has $5.3 billion in funded projects or 220,000 homes while the commercial PACE has $785 million in funded projects or 1,795 projects. Tallmadge already participates in the commercial PACE program.

"This is a community service," Burnham said. "We won't make any money out of it."

Summit is one of four counties where it will be offered in Ohio, Burnham said. The program is more than saving energy. The work creates new jobs, increases property values and protects consumers.

The consumer protection policies have a clear, mortgage-level discloser, confirmation of terms including project, price, term, interest and payment on tax bill. Terms are reviewed if owner sells or refinances and is advised to notify current mortgage provider for escrow.

PACE would train the contractors and certify them for the work, he said. The contractor must be licensed, bonded, insured and in good standing.

The completion certificate is required before funding and the property owner has the final say in the work. The contractor is not paid until the homeowner signs off on the work. A compliance team makes sure the home owners are protected.

It is an opt-in program and the city can opt-out if not happy with the program, Burnham said.

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com