April 20th, 2012 at 11:56 am
AUSTIN – The state controller’s office is offering a small window for churches to take advantage of low interest loans that help with remodeling efforts to help congregations save money on energy usage.
Churches have until May 18 to apply for loans up to $25,000 to help with energy-saving projects such replacing lights, installing insulation and upgrading air conditioning systems. The loans are offered at a 5 percent interest rate and can be paid back with the savings from the remodeling efforts in 10 years.
Suzii Paynter, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission that helped pushed for this kind of program, said this effort is ideal for churches about to start an energy-efficiency project or in the midst of one. The application process requires congregations to present an energy efficiency retrofit plan from a licensed engineer to show calculated monetary savings for proposed projects.
“In the past, there have been tax incentives for businesses to do this kind of work,” she said. “State-run schools and such also have had a program. But churches, because they do not pay taxes, have not had these kinds of vehicles. This program offers churches a way to make desired changes and pay the loan back with funds saved as a result of those efforts.”
The loan program is the latest result of the CLC’s effort to help congregations battle energy costs. The CLC, which is funded by gifts to missions through the Cooperative Program, recently has been pushing for ways to fairly reduce how much churches are charged for their energy usage.