The Loans Scheme
As a member of Hook Norton Low Carbon, you can apply for a loan to help you reduce your energy consumption and lower your carbon footprint.
We will consider loans for any energy saving idea, but we do expect you to deal with the more fundamental aspects of energy saving (e.g. insulation) before considering more exciting things, like wood pellet boilers or solar PV.
The interest rates we charge vary depending on the nature of the project, with the lowest rates applied to measures with the highest potential carbon savings, and the higher rates applied to measures such as PV panels where there are already financial incentives in place (feed in tariffs). We also review our interest rates regularly and will vary them depending on financial circumstances, both our own, and external factors.
You need to plan ahead, as we split our budget into four loan cycles each year. The management committee consider each application against a set of rules and also against the budget we have in that cycle. Any money not used in one cycle is carried forward to the next. We will generally give priority to smaller projects with high potential carbon savings. Larger projects will be considered if there is less demand for funds in any one cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much money have you got?
We process loans on a quarterly basis, so we have four loan “pots” per year. Each cycle is allocated £15,000 and we can roll funds over from one quarter to the next if not used up.
How much interest do you charge?
We review interest rates regularly, but at present we are generally charging between 0% and 3% per annum, depending on term and the nature of the project.
Will you fund insulation in a new build or extension?
We would be happy to consider a loan for insulation that is beyond that required by current building regulations, but not for the amount needed to satisfy the current standards.
My windows need replacing, would you fund replacement double glazed windows?
We would be happy to consider a loan for the cost element of the double glazing which about saving energy. So, or example if the window frames are in a poor state of repair and you need to replace them anyway then we may provide funding for part but not all the installation.
I want to do something to improve energy efficiency, but don’t know what.
Contact us for advice, we have a lot of “in house” expertise, and plenty of contacts with others who can advise you.
Can I start my project before the loan is agreed?
Yes, we understand that you may want to get going before the loan has been agreed, but let us know if this is your intention. We would not expect to make loans for work that has been completed prior to application.
How much can I borrow?
We generally limit loans to £5000, as we want to get as many people doing the things which save most energy, rather than just being able to help a few people doing some amazing things. We will always look to fund part of these larger projects as they are already some fantastic exemplar homes in the village and we aim to help people maximise their energy savings while they are already doing work. If our loan budget can stretch to it, and demand for smaller loans is low, we will consider larger loans.
Can I borrow money for solar photo voltaic panels or other technologies supported by FIT or RHI?
Yes, PV is a carbon saving technology and we would therefore consider funding PV where all the basic insulation improvements have also been carried out on your property. As PV also attracts feed in tariffs to provide you with a return on your capital, we would charge a higher rate of interest for that element of the project, you may find that funding PV from other sources is less expensive than the interest rate we would charge. Other technologies attract funding from the Renewable Heating Initiative (RHI) and so we would reflect that in the interest rates that we charge on projects of that type.
I just want to top up my loft insulation, will you lend me some money?
Yes. This is exactly the sort of project we want to support – if every household in the village just insulated their lofts properly, the energy savings would be enormous. Look out for special deals, especially if you are over 60, on any form of benefit, or discover you have no loft insulation at all, as there are many subsidised schemes out there ranging from free to cheap, but if you need help, we are very keen to provide money for this.
How to apply:
You need to decide what you want to do, and when you want to do it. When you apply we will want to see quotations or estimates clearly stating what is going to be done, and how much it is going to cost. The more detail you can provide, the more likely your application will be successful. If we need to come back to you for more information, you may end up having to wait until the next loan cycle.
We need to know what you have done so far. Draught proofing, loft insulation, low energy lightbulbs and so on, so we can be assured that your project is proceeding along logical lines. We would be unlikely to make a loan for double glazing, if your loft insulation was inadequate.
You need to have any necessary permissions in place, e.g. planning permission and/or listed building consent.
You need to be a member of Hook Norton Low Carbon Limited, and hold a share certificate.
Then you can then apply online (click here).
Paper application forms can be arranged. We would prefer applications using the online form wherever possible.
What happens after I apply?
We will look at your application to make sure we have all the facts, and at this stage we may contact you to ask for more information. The more supporting documentation you send us, the faster the process is likely to be. Once we are confident that we have enough information, your application is passed on to the board.
The board will look at the applications, and seek technical advice if necessary. They will then meet to discuss and prioritise the applications according to the current loans policy.
Each application will be considered in conjunction with our rules and priorities and in relation to the amount of loan funds we have available at the time. We will contact the successful applicants first, to see if they want to proceed once they know what we can offer, and if we lose anyone at that point in the process, we can then offer funds to projects that may have been lower down the list. If there are insufficient funds, but your application is otherwise sound, your application will be reconsidered in the next cycle.
We have a standard loan agreement that you will need to sign (we do our signings at the Brewery Visitor Centre, as the Brewery is our registered office address) and we then ask you to set up a monthly standing order to repay your loan.
Compliance monitoring programme
The HNLC Board reviews the loans made to householders on an annual basis at its February Board meeting to ensure that loans have been made in compliance with HNLC procedures and reviews whether any changes are needed for the coming year.
Any complaints on the loans process should be addressed to the HNLC Board and the complaint will be reviewed at the following monthly Management Meeting of the HNLC Board