SASKATOON -- Saskatoon city administration is proposing a loan program that will allow homeowners to make their properties more energy-efficient.

“It’s a unique program – loans provided from the City are attached to the property being retrofitted or renovated and would be paid back through the homeowners’ property taxes,” Jeanna South, director of sustainability, said in a news release.

“The loans are attached to the property and not the person, so the loan can be passed from one homeowner to the next if the property is sold.”

The proposed Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities, and Corporate Services on Monday.

If approved, HELP will provide loans for energy efficiency retrofits or renewable energy installations for single-family homeowners.

Examples include window and door replacements, solar panel installations, heating and cooling system upgrades or added insulation.

South said the program is designed to benefit the community in many ways beyond addressing climate change in Saskatoon and nationwide.

According to a report the committee will review during Monday's meeting, the “low-cost” loans could range anywhere from $1,000 to $40,000.

Under the proposed program, a loan of $60,000 could even be possible if 50 per cent or more energy efficiency would be achieved relative to pre-retrofit performance.

“It will assist homeowners in paying for home upgrades that will reduce energy bills, make those upgrades financially accessible, help to make homes more comfortable, and it will stimulate Saskatoon’s economy, especially in the construction and renewables sectors.”

If approved by City Council, an application will be made through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and bylaw development will proceed with the goal of launching HELP later in 2021.