Schools Struggle With Heating Bills, But No Takers For Loan Program 

By Alexandra Gutierrez | Alaska Public Radio Network: The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) is in charge of managing what’s called the “energy efficiency revolving loan fund.” They can issue up to $250 million dollars in loans to school districts, boroughs, municipalities, and the university system. Given what a big problem energy costs are across the state, you might expect Eric Havelock, who administers the program, to be swamped with applications.

You would be wrong.

“We’ve had a lot of calls and some basic questions,” says Havelock. “But we’ve actually only received two applications.”

Those came from the Cities of Kenai and Seward, and neither one of them ended up going through with the loan. Meanwhile, there’s been no shortage of private property owners turning to AHFC for financing.

“The idea was to bring the same benefits to public buildings that we had brought to residential buildings,” says CEO Bryan Butcher.

Here’s how the program is supposed to work: A public entity decides they want to get an energy upgrade, so they get a building audit where a contractor guarantees a certain percentage of energy savings. AHFC then provides a loan to cover the cost of the audit and any retrofitting that happens. After the upgrades are made, the building owner pays off the loan using the money that would have otherwise gone to heat and electricity. After the loan is paid off, the energy savings can be put toward another part of the budget.

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