Oakland County is making strides towards energy efficiency by allocating $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to help residents improve their homes. The initiative, known as Oakland SAVES (Simple Actions for Valuable Energy Savings), aims to enhance the energy efficiency of at least 1,000 homes in the county. By partnering with Michigan Saves, the state’s non-profit green energy bank, the county will offer grants and loans to eligible homeowners.
Under the Oakland SAVES program, there are two tiers of assistance. The first tier allocates $4 million for grants up to $5,000 for income-qualified households. This tier specifically targets residents who struggle to qualify for traditional financing and are ineligible for free services from the federal weatherization assistance program. These homeowners often find themselves in a financial precarious situation, where a single emergency expense could tip them into crisis.
The second tier of the program utilizes $1 million to provide up to 20% or $3,000 toward sustainable home improvements for any homeowner in Oakland County. By offering these grants and loans exclusively to homeowners, the program encourages individuals to invest in energy-efficient upgrades. However, it’s important to note that renters and landlords are not eligible for this assistance.
To ensure high standards of workmanship and compliance with municipal codes, approved contractors must carry out the home improvement projects. The scope of these improvements encompasses a wide range of energy-saving measures, including attic insulation, air sealing, insulation for basement walls or crawl spaces, as well as upgrades to ducts, floors, walls, and door weather stripping. Additionally, residents can seek funding for Energy Star-qualified doors, windows, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, thermostats, and building code or health and safety improvements related to energy-efficient upgrades.
By participating in Oakland SAVES, homeowners not only increase their energy efficiency and reduce utility bills but also contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Quetell emphasizes how the program improves residents’ quality of life by creating comfortable and healthier homes. Quetell highlights the positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as residential energy use decreases.
County Executive Dave Coulter underscores the importance of minimizing carbon emissions and developing a sustainable environment for all. This sentiment echoes the broader goal of Oakland SAVES, as it aligns with the county’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.
The program will run until December 31, 2025, or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Homeowners interested in applying for a grant or seeking more information can visit www.michigansaves.org or contact (517) 484-6474.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Who is eligible for Oakland SAVES grants and loans?
Grants and loans are exclusively available to homeowners in Oakland County. Renters and landlords are not eligible for this assistance.
2. Are there income requirements for the grants?
Yes, the program offers income-qualified grants for Phase 1. The details and eligibility criteria can be obtained through www.michigansaves.org or by calling (517) 484-6474.
3. Can I choose any contractor for the home improvements?
No, the work must be completed by an approved contractor who meets all municipal code standards.
4. How long will the program be available?
The Oakland SAVES program will be open until December 31, 2025, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.