Funding for Energy Audits now available for homeowner improvements

The URA Board today announced that the Pittsburgh Home Rehabilitation Program has been enhanced to promote energy efficient improvements to owner occupied homes in the City of Pittsburgh.

“Energy Efficient improvements save homeowners hundreds of dollars annually in utility bills,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. “‘This enhanced program will not only provide the funds for those improvements, but also the expertise needed to undertake them.”

The URA administered Pittsburgh Home Rehabilitation Program (PHRP) provides 0% interest loans and grants for improvements to eligible City of Pittsburgh homeowners. The loan term can be spread over 20 years, making payment as low as possible. Income limits apply for participation; qualifying households earn less than 80% of the area median income. (A household of one cannot earn more than $35,000, a household of two cannot make earn than $40,000.)

Homeowners may borrow up to $25,000 for a single unit home and $35,000 for a two unit home. In combination with the loan, grants are available for an assortment of needs, including repair or replacement of the sidewalk, exterior improvements, removal of lead hazards, and accessibility improvements

PHRP Plus features a $2,500 grant to be used to pay for an energy audit (required) and insulation, air sealing and duct sealing. Participants in this program are eligible to receive $10,000 above the $25,000 limit for the standard PHRP loan. The additional borrowing limit can be used for qualifying energy efficient improvements, including insulation, air and duct sealing, efficient heating and cooling, lighting, water heating equipment, and efficient windows and doors.

West Penn Energy Solutions will provide energy auditing services which include diagnostic testing as well as combustion safety testing. A report will be generated that will provide recommendations for energy efficient improvements, along with the approximate cost and savings associated with these improvements.

The URA will provide a Construction Advisor for each homeowner and along with the Auditor will meet with the homeowner to select improvements and finalize a work write-up. The URA can also assist the homeowner in having contractors competitively bid on their job. A URA approved licensed contractor is required for participation in the program.

“Energy efficient improvements can save homeowners money on utilities and make their homes more comfortable right away,” Matt Smuts, Sustainability Coordinator, URA said. “In the long term simple improvements like sealing air leaks and adding insulation increase the value of these homes.”

Interested applicants for the PHRP and PHRP Plus programs should contact Jenny Kohnfelder at 412.255.6639 or visit www.ura.org.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) is the City of Pittsburgh’s economic development agency, committed to creating jobs, expanding the City’s tax base and improving the vitality of businesses and neighborhoods. The URA achieves this mission by assembling, preparing and conveying sites for major mixed-use developments; and by providing a portfolio of programs that include financing for business location, relocation and expansion, housing construction and rehabilitation, and home purchases and improvements.