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Leon Energy Assistance Program Helps Homeowners Finance Energy Improvements

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By Gina Jordan

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-912781.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Leon Energy Assistance Program kicked off Wednesday at the first home selected to take part. The pilot program, called LEAP for short, will provide one-hundred free home energy audits over the next few months. Paige Forshay's home in eastern Leon County is first on the list. It was built in 1948 and still has the original windows.

"We struggle to keep the house cool in the summertime and warm in the winter, and all the time struggling with the condensation that builds up and the humidity that is inside the house."

As part of the weatherization initiative, participants may be eligible for a low interest loan of up to $7-thousand for energy efficiency improvements. Commissioner Cliff Thaell says that's not just good for the homeowners.

"For every million dollars that the county lends, about 140 homes, we'll put ten working men and women - carpenters, plumbers, electricians, landscape architects - back to work."

The LEAP initiative, the first of its kind in Florida, will occur in two phases: the pilot program, followed by the potential for a fully implemented program
The pilot participants will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The audit will culminate with a list of the home's deficiencies and ways to reduce energy consumption. If at least one-third of participants express an interest in a low interest loan for improvements, a full loan program will be implemented. The loan is not tied to the homeowner; it is tied to the home and will be paid back via property taxes.

For more information, contact the county's Office of Sustainability at 850-606-5300 or sustainability@leoncountyfl.gov.
Also visit http://www.leoncountyfl.gov/sustainability/about-us.html.