charleston affordable housing

The middle of winter is certainly a time when we all tend to cringe when opening the electric/gas bill. And when you are responsible for paying those bills, you can see the logic behind putting on a sweater instead of turning up the thermostat.

In addition to adding layers, there are other ways to improve the energy efficiency of a living space, which can add up to big savings. This is especially important for low-income families who may spend more than 15% of their income on energy, according to the S.C. Energy Office. The Energy Office also says that simple energy efficiency improvements can cut energy costs by more than 40% in most affordable housing properties. The money that families save on energy can help them pay for food, clothing and other essentials.

SC Community Loan Fund also thinks it’s important to take measures to build energy-efficient properties and renovate existing properties. That’s why, for the last year, we’ve been offering an Energy-Efficient Rehab Loan Program for rental properties.

Our program makes loans to owners of multi-family and single-family rental properties that they can use to make changes that improve the energy efficiency of the property by a minimum of 20%. Tenancy is limited to households with incomes at or below 120% of the area’s median income. An CLF loan can only be used for items directly related to improving energy efficiency, including hot water heaters, heating/AC systems, insulation, windows, doors, programmable thermostats, lighting and appliances.

Through the program, a property owner applies for an CLF Energy-Efficient Rehab Loan, which is offered at an interest rate between prime and 4 points over prime. The applicant then contracts with an CLF-approved representative to conduct a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) inspection and initial energy rating. The HERS rater makes it simple for property owners by outlining various improvements that can be made that will have a maximum impact at a minimal cost.

Once the recommendations are made, the applicant consults with an architect or contractor and then submits the scope of work to CLF for approval. Once the loan is approved and improvements have been applied to the property, a post HERS test will be conducted on the rehabilitated property to measure the energy efficiency.

Interested in applying for an energy efficient rehab loan or know someone who is? Click here for more information, or contact us at 843-973-7285 or