Standing behind a broken podium in a Camp Street carport Thursday, with seven bird feeders dangling in the background, Gov. Jodi Rell announced a new program to help homeowners conserve energy and save money.
Rell said a new $5 million program will provide rebates for homeowners who replace their old furnaces with efficient new ones and another $2 million to provide loans for those seeking to pay for other energy conservation improvements.
The governor said they’re “a good deal for people who are improving their homes and trying to be fuel efficient.”
With soaring costs for everything from oil to food, Rell said that “some of our homeowners are going to be hard-pressed to make it through the winter” so she’s trying to find ways to lend a hand.
“Every day it seems like we’re getting additional hikes in everything,” the governor said.
Reggie Gorneault, 70, said he was happy to have the small ranch home that he’s lived in for 42 years serve as a prop for Rell’s announcement.
He said government loans made it possible a year and a half ago for him to replace leaking windows, replace a roof and put siding on the house – steps that cut heating bills and eliminated some mold that had grown beneath one bathroom window.
“This really saved us,” Gorneault said.
The new programs, he said, offer a helping hand for other residents across the state.
“There’s no one that couldn’t benefit from it,” Gorneault said.
“This is wonderful,” declared his wife, Fran. “I think this is something really great for the state of Connecticut.”
The new furnace rebate program, which is slated for approval at the next State Bond Commission meeting, will provide rebates of up to $500 to homeowners who buy Energy Star-rated natural gas furnaces or oil or propane furnaces that are at least 84 percent efficient. The rebates vary depending on the income of the homeowner.
“We’re really excited about this program,” Rell said. She said it is “a win-win situation” for both the taxpayers and residents who take advantage of it because of the energy conservation it will spur.
The $2 million for the loan program is meant to recharge the Energy Conservation Loan Fund that helps the owners of single and multi-family homes pay for energy saving improvements such as heat pumps, windows, thermostats and more.
Fran Gorneault said the program made it possible for them to do so many needed improvements. They pay a small amount monthly to cover the loans, she said.
Rell said that her family replaced an older oil furnace four years – without state aid – and “it’s been a godsend for us” in cutting heating bills.
She said she hopes that eligible homeowners will take advantage of the new opportunity.
“We’re doing our part,” Rell said. “Now we want everyone to step up.”
The rebate program will be administered by the state’s Office of Policy and Management.
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