Commercial Energy Efficiency Loan Fund

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance partners with the Cincinnati Development Fund to leverage Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Energy Efficiency Lending

CINCINNATI, OHIO – June 1, 2012 – Business owners and nonprofit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati region that would like to make their buildings more energy efficient will be able to access a unique loan program thanks to a partnership created by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (Energy Alliance) and the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF).

The investment, which was announced today, will allow qualified business owners, multifamily building owners and nonprofit organizations access to loans to implement energy efficiency upgrades through the Energy Alliance’s Building Performance Program. Typical building owners will see a reduction in utility cost and enhanced comfort, when making improvements such as new heating and cooling equipment, windows and air sealing and insulation.

The Energy Alliance is partnering with CDF, a local nonprofit lending institution, and the Calvert Foundation, a national financial intermediary, to leverage a $3 million investment to create the Better Buildings Performance Loan Fund.  The Loan Fund is the first of a series of investments that leverages the Energy Alliance’s commitment of $5 million in capital from the U.S. Department of Energy Better Building Neighborhood Program (BBNP) to drive investment capital into the greater Cincinnati region.  This investment marks the first time that the Calvert Foundation has invested in the Cincinnati community.

The intent of this loan fund is two-fold, according to Energy Alliance Executive Director Andy Holzhauser:

  • It will provide additional capital for commercial, multifamily and nonprofit building owners looking to invest in energy saving opportunities in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.
  • The Energy Alliance’s commercial program will verify the performance of the installed measures over the life of investment.  Collected and verified data will allow community development financing groups and traditional lenders to enter the emerging market of energy efficiency financing at a relatively low risk.

“This is a valuable first step to creating a national model for a new funding solution for energy efficiency upgrades,” Holzhauser said.

In tradition with their socially responsible lending, The Calvert Foundation announced an initial $3 million investment in the local loan fund.  The Energy Alliance, a recipient of a BBNP grant, is providing capital for a loan loss reserve fund allowing loans to be offered at competitive interest rates for qualified borrowers.  The Cincinnati Development Fund, Inc. will serve as the lending institution.

The partnership was a good fit for each of the three organizations.

“Investing in energy efficiency lowers energy costs for a developer or building owner and puts more money back in their control to invest in additional housing and multi-family projects,” said Jeanne Golliher, President and CEO of  Cincinnati Development Fund, Inc.

She added that the CDF feels strongly that any building loan should have energy efficiency improvements included in the project to create more sustainable cities and communities.

Catherine Godschalk, Director of U.S. Investments at the Calvert Foundation, based in Bethesda, Md., said that the organization believes the investment will help local business owners finance improvements that will ultimately reduce pollutants, conserve energy and lead to cost savings.

“Calvert Foundation is excited about this new investment and its leverage of the Department of Energy grant dollars for broader impact in communities.  This was an innovative approach for us, but still within a larger context of portfolio investments in green solutions,” she said.

Holzhauser added: “The Energy Alliance’s mission is to drive investments in energy efficiency throughout the greater Cincinnati community. By partnering with national and local partners to attract capital into this market and prove that energy efficiency investments work; for both lenders and building owners, we feel that this program will be a step towards achieving this goal.” 

To qualify for the Better Buildings Performance Loan Fund, nonprofit, multifamily and commercial building owners must be within the Energy Alliance service territory and apply for the Energy Alliance program. The Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides financial support, technical assistance and project management support to help local businesses and nonprofit organizations make high quality energy efficiency investments.

For more information on the loan program or to begin the process for energy efficiency upgrades, go to  www.greatercea.org.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities reduce their energy costs. The Energy Alliance provides education, expertise and innovative financing to help the region to become more energy efficient, saving money for residents while also creating local jobs. Visit www.greatercea.org

The Cincinnati Development Fund is a non-profit lending institution established in 1988 to finance affordable housing development and community revitalization in the Greater Cincinnati Area. CDF fills a critical niche that is not sought after by traditional lenders, such as small projects, new developers, and complex financing structures. The primary business of the organization is to underwrite and service community development real estate loans that result in the creation or preservation of affordable housing, or revitalization of urban communities.  Visit  http://www.cincinnatidevelopmentfund.org/

The Calvert Foundation maximizes the flow of capital to disadvantaged communities in order to create a more equitable and sustainable society. By creating innovative financial products and services, they have made it possible for everyday people, not just institutions, to participate in financial instruments that directly serve communities.  The Calvert Foundation has nearly $200 million invested in 250 community organizations in all 50 states and over 100 countries.  Visit http://www.calvertfoundation.org/

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