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Bill Freehling is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Bill Freehling.

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Contractors wanted for local energy-efficiency grant program

The George Washington Regional Commission has started taking applications from area residents and contractors interested in participating in a local grant program aimed at making older homes more energy efficient. The program, which is called GW-HELP (Home Energy Loss Prevention), was enabled by a $1 million grant the GWRC received last year from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The program is primarily for Fredericksburg and Caroline County residents who make between 50 percent and 120 percent of the area’s median income and own a single-family or mobile home built before 2001. If a home energy audit demonstrates that those residents can save at least 20 percent on their energy bills with home improvements, they can receive a rebate for up to $6,000 of the cost of qualifying work through the grant program. Examples of qualifying work include new HVAC systems and water heaters, caulking, sealing, insulation, programmable thermostats and more. Residents of Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and Fredericksburg whose household income is 120 percent or more of the area’s median can receive up to $500 toward qualifying work. The Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging has a similar program for those whose incomes are less than 50 percent of the area’s median (which differs based on the locality in which you live and the number of people in the household).

The work must be done by a contractor certified by the GWRC. Certified contractors complete training (which is offered by Germanna Community College) and then pass a test. The GWRC is looking for contractors interested in participating in the program. The GWRC is also working on starting a loan program that would help contractors and homeowners receive financing for energy-efficiency work. That would help leverage the initial $1 million grant and allow more people to take part in the program, said Kevin Byrnes, who is helping oversee the program for the GWRC.

Here are some more specifics about the program:

Program overview

Contractor FAQs

Homeowner FAQs

Homeowner application form

Contractor participation agreement

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2011/06/01/contractors-wanted-for-local-energy-efficiency-grant-program/

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