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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GreenFinanceSF's Sole Accomplishment: Removing Fecal Stench From One Man's Home

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Peeeuuueeeww
  • Peeeuuueeeww
A local program designed to slash millions of dollars from San Franciscans' electricity bills shut down  last month with a single accomplishment to its name: It encouraged a local man to remove the stench of sewage that had permeated his Bernal Heights duplex.

"Our dogs were getting sick and things like that," said Nick Grover, the sole beneficiary of GreenFinanceSF, a program announced by Mayor Gavin Newsom with great fanfare in April as a means of financing energy-efficient home improvements such as solar panels and low-flow toilets.

Grover had been putting off figuring out how to pay workers to seal up the drafty crawlspace below his home, which happened to reek with the smell of leaky sewage pipes. He got a GreenFinanceSF flyer in the mail, and figured out that the plugging the leak jibed with the program's eco-friendly goals because he wouldn't have to use his heater as much in the winter. Workers filled his crawlspace with

foam sealant at a cost of $8,000.

But GreenFinanceSF was shut down before he could sign the financing papers; lenders Fannie Mae and

Freddie Mac claim the program could have transformed affected mortgages into a bad credit

risk.

So Grover, 30, who bought his duplex two years ago with an interest-only loan, still had to figure out a way to pay for the work. He had no home equity to speak of, and was stretched as it was making $2,000 monthly payments.

City staffers scrambled to help link Grover up with a financing scheme called GeoSmart, also aimed at helping finance energy-efficient home improvements.

And while the thought process behind GreenFinanceSF may have been stinky, his home no longer is.

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