By Dawn Krebs
STUART -- A partnership between the city of Stuart and the nonprofit organization Solar and Energy Loan Fund will enable the residents to receive guidance, and in some cases financial assistance, with making their homes more energy efficient.
The nonprofit, known as SELF, has been active in St. Lucie County, and opened a satellite office in Stuart on Feb. 1. The funds for the office were provided by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
"We have a target area of Stuart that we wanted to focus on first in Martin County," said Lauren Huck, marketing manager for SELF. "Our services will also be available throughout all of Martin County."
SELF will help city residents with evaluating their current energy usage, and suggesting ways the homeowner can save money by using more energy-efficient means, such as solar water heaters, weatherization or high-efficiency air conditioners. The organization can also offer low-interest rate loans for homeowners wanting to make changes.
"The city will provide financial assistance to the first 50 people for an energy evaluation of their homes," she said. The city will pay the first $250 for the energy evaluation, estimated to be approximately $275. The homeowner will be responsible for the balance of $25.
"The city is pleased to be working with the SELF organization," said Troy McDonald, vice-mayor of Stuart, in a press release.
The group will have a table and be available for questions at the Stuart Energy Fest, scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at Memorial Park.
For information on home energy evaluations, call (772) 468-1818 or visit www.cleanenergyloanprogram.org.