By Katie Pohlman

As winter winds are blowing, homeowners are more aware than ever of leaky, uncomfortable houses and high, energy bills. But when energy upgrades are not in the budget, there are loan options and rebate assistance available.

To help homeowners afford energy upgrades, UMB Bank offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan that provides a 10-year line of credit. A HELOC allows borrowers to withdraw from available funds whenever they are needed. The loan funds can be used to make major purchases, like a high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system, ENERGY STAR appliances or improving a home’s efficiency through improvements like insulation or more efficient windows. Interest is charged only when funds are used and may be tax deductible.

UMB leadership’s commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability can also be seen in its bank facilities, including building all new facilities to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards, installing solar panels on six bank locations, extensive energy retrofits and system-wide recycling programs. UMB is also working on an additional 50 sustainability efforts this year as one of the first companies to participate in Bridging the Gap’s Sustainability Circles.

To learn more HELOC loan options, visit UMB.

Many area utilities also offer energy-efficiency rebates for equipment and improvements, including energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems, ground-source heat pumps, ENERGY STAR appliances, insulation, windows, doors, ductwork and weatherization. Check these utilities for specific offers:

The Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency (HUEE) is a local consortium of natural gas and electric utilities that are working together on residential energy-efficiency issues. To learn more about energy-saving resources, visit www.huee.org.