Feb. 16 Beginning March 1, San Francisco will advance funds to property owners to pay for green improvements such as installing solar energy/water heating systems and more efficient furnaces, reports the New York Times.
Homeowners repay the loans through a small increase in their annual property tax bills. The loans are attached to the property, not the individual, and are paid back over no more than 20 year, the Times explains.
Under the new GreenFinancesSF program property owners who have paid their taxes on time for the past three years may borrow up to $50,000 for green improvements.
The program comes at a time when federal and local officials are taking a more direct approach to promoting greater energy efficiency, says the Times, with loans and incentives such as the federal 30% tax credit on a range of energy efficient improvements.
The San Francisco program is privately financed and will have no impact on the city's budget, according to the Times.
San Francisco joins a growing number of cities and local governments with similar programs. Since the first programs kicked off in Berkely and Palm Desert, Cal., about two years, cities and counties in 12 states from coast to coast have adopted similar programs. Los Angeles and San Diego counties are scheduled to begin similar programs this summer.