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Greater Cincinnati Leads the Region in Energy Efficiency Investment Through GC-HELP

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CINCINNATI, OH – May 9, 2013 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (Energy Alliance) surpassed a milestone this week, having lent out over $1 million to local homeowners through its Greater Cincinnati Home Energy Loan Program (GC-HELP). GC-HELP finances whole-home energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners who participate in the Energy Alliance’s nationally recognized Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program, which was developed through the organization’s participation in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program.

GC-HELP was created in 2011 with support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and in partnership with AFC First Financial Corporation. GC-HELP is available to residents of Hamilton County in Ohio and Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Kentucky.

By removing the barrier to investment in energy efficiency with a low-interest loan and a quick and painless application process for homeowners, GC-HELP makes energy efficiency projects more manageable and encourages deeper home energy improvements.

When a homeowner chooses to improve their home through the whole-home approach to energy efficiency, they are improving the way the home works as a system. Homeowners start saving money from the day a project is completed. On average, every dollar invested in energy efficiency generates three dollars in savings.

Andy Holzhauser, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Alliance, noted the availability of energy efficiency loans like the GC-HELP loan is “critical” to the development of clean energy projects in the Greater Cincinnati region. Holzhauser commented, A million dollars invested in energy efficiency represents a far greater economic impact than the face value of the amount because the investment generates significant savings for homeowners; it also creates jobs that cannot be outsourced; and on top of all that, it builds a sustainable future for the region’s environment.”

“By ensuring that its loans are being made to established standards for residential energy efficiency financing the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is at the forefront of an emerging secondary market for these types of loans,” said Peter Krajsa, Chairman and CEO of AFC First Financial Corporation, a national energy efficiency lender who helps facilitate the loan program.  “Access to the secondary market will provide the Energy Alliance with an ongoing and sustainable source of loan capital.”

Lending over $1 million through GC-HELP was a major milestone for the Energy Alliance. Before its founding in 2009, there was a lack of financing options in the area for energy efficiency projects. This investment has helped position the Greater Cincinnati area as not only a regional epicenter for energy efficiency investment, but also as a national leader in efficiency.

The Energy Alliance is developing a new energy efficiency loan to support homeowners’ individual and urgent needs for their homes. This loan will be available to finance independent energy efficiency improvements such as emergency HVAC replacement. Information is expected to be released following its annual contractor development meeting on May 15, 2013.

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (Energy Alliance)

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit economic development agency that drives investment in energy efficiency in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities by providing education, project management, and innovative financing solutions.  The Energy Alliance is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program of the U.S. Department of Energy.  For additional information please visit the Energy Alliance online at www.greatercea.org.

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