For Hometown News
FORT PIERCE -
For the Solar and Energy Loan Fund, implementing Florida-friendly landscaping at its headquarters in Fort Pierce means the organization is being true to its roots.
SELF's mission is to promote green solutions by providing residents with low-interest loans and expertise for energy efficient improvements.
The landscape project was made possible by a community-service grant through Florida Yards and Neighborhoods and assistance from the St. Lucie County Extension Office.
"Several months ago we provided the Solar and Energy Loan Fund with a Florida-friendly landscape plan; however, they were searching for funding to be able to implement it," said Kate O'Neill, St. Lucie County Extension Office program specialist.
"We were able to connect them with The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program, which was looking for a community-service project. The timing was perfect."
To complete the project, more than 10 volunteers braved the August heat to install low-maintenance plants such as the Bluberry Flax Lily and Cross Vine. Once established, these plants will be irrigated using rainwater collected from two rain barrels installed onsite.
SELF has completed 759 energy evaluations and provided 134 loans totaling more than $ 1.1 million in low-interest loans to more than 100 clients in St. Lucie County.
The low-interest rate loan program makes it affordable for homeowners to take advantage of various clean energy solutions, including, but not limited to: basic weatherization; high-efficiency air conditioners, windows and doors; Light-emitting diodes; lights; and, solar water heaters, solar photovoltaic panels, and solar window tinting and attic fans. SELF will soon be expanding to the entire Treasure Coast region, including Brevard, Okeechobee, Martin and Indian River counties.
For more information, call (772) 468-1818 or visit www.cleanenergyloanprogram.org.