The legislation was co-sponsored by five other members of the eight-member Council (Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Duchy Trachtenberg).

“This measure will help our homeowners reduce their skyrocketing utility bills and their carbon footprint at the same time, while putting people to work in the new green economy,” said Councilmember Berliner. “It has broad support within the environmental and business community and it should impose almost no cost on the County thanks to the good work of Congressman Chris Van Hollen and the federal stimulus bill.”

The HELP program is among the top priorities of the county’s Sustainability Working Group, where Councilmember Berliner co-chaired the Residential Energy Efficiency Subcommittee.

The importance of HELP is the role local government plays. The loan will be secured through a lien on the homeowner’s property. The loan, which will be repaid over 15 years as a voluntary additional line item on the property tax, will run with the property, not with the homeowner that took out the loan. This allows a homeowner to entertain an improved home retrofit as long as the annual loan costs are equal to, or less than, the savings on their utility bill. Monies can also be borrowed for the installation of renewable energy devices once the home is energy efficient.