Forest Park’s 100+ Home Energy Upgrades

The Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program had an exciting milestone to celebrate for Earth Day this year.

Forest Park’s Residential Energy Efficiency Program facilitated its community’s 100th Home Energy Upgrade through the Energy Alliance’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program in April 2013.

The City of Forest Park has partnered with the Energy Alliance since March of 2011 to help its residents make whole-home energy efficiency improvements to their homes. Over 100 Forest Park homes have now successfully made comprehensive energy upgrades to their homes, which we consider a great success! These improvements have resulted in lower energy bills for residents, noticeable improvement to home comfort and usability, and a resulting improvement to our region’s air quality.

“Partnering with the City of Forest Park has generated incredible value to Forest Park customers, who can enjoy an even quicker payback on their home investment.”

Andy Holzhauser, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

Investment = Savings + Local Jobs

Forest Park’s almost $750,000 investment in energy efficiency has generated over 6,000 hours of private sector labor and saved almost one million kWh annually through energy usage reductions. Wright Gwyn, the Forest Park Environmental Program Manager, is very excited about this program, which he considers quite successful and a worthy ongoing investment for Forest Park.

“Our programs are not isolated programs. It’s an environmental education type of experience where they see tangible results. A lot of people are not only getting money upfront to make improvements, but then they reap the benefits of long term savings as well.”

Wright Gwyn, Program Manager, Forest Park Environmental Program

On average, the Forest Park community members who have invested in their home’s efficiency by participating in the Energy Alliance’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program are saving approximately $400 per year on their energy bills, with some households enjoying savings of over $1,000 through energy efficiency investments.

“Investing in the efficiency of your home provides immediate savings, while improving the comfort and value of your home.”

Andy Holzhauser, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

Exceeding Expectations

The partnership exceeded its goal of improving the efficiency of 100 Forest Park homes.  Homeowners who committed to a minimum 15 percent improvement of their homes’ efficiency received funding assistance to jump start their home energy upgrades. In addition to the cash incentives and low-interest loan option provided by the Energy Alliance, Forest Park residents were able to access up to $2,000 from their local Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program.

Wright Gwyn sees the Residential Energy Efficiency Programas an important piece in the puzzle of improving individual and community sustainability for Forest Park residents.

“Everything that we’re trying to develop for our residents is trying to improve the environmental quality of the Forest Park community. Energy efficiency has become a larger issue. It is an individual and a societal concern that we improve our energy efficiency in every way possible.”

Wright Gwyn, Program Manager, Forest Park Environmental Program

The Forest Park Residential Energy Efficiency Program is a project of the Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program, which is a department under the City of Forest Park.  The Environmental Awareness Program is committed to fostering a spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility among citizens, businesses, institutions, and governmental agencies towards the enhancement of local, regional, and global environmental quality.

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One Million Dollars in Energy Efficiency Loans!

1 Million

It may seem counter intuitive that a nonprofit organization would operate as a loan provider. From our perspective, it is one of the most important services that the Energy Alliance provides to our community.

This is why we are very excited to share that the Energy Alliance has funded over $1 million of whole-home energy efficiency upgrades through the Greater Cincinnati Home Energy Loan Program loan fund.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s mission is to facilitate investment in energy efficiency. We do this through education, project management, and financial solutions.

Reduced cost assessments through our Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program and cash incentives for improvement measures help nudge homeowners who are hesitant to commit to a whole-home energy efficiency upgrade to take the first steps.

The Energy Alliance’s Greater Cincinnati Home Energy Loan Program (GC-HELP) enables homeowners to take that great leap towards deep energy savings, improved comfort, and whole-home health. GC-HELP removes the financial barrier that many homeowners face when considering making home energy improvements. It enables homeowners to invest more in their homes with a low-interest loan, to make bigger improvements, and consequently to see bigger savings in their bills.

GC-HELP Loan Empowerment

Most people don’t get excited about loans. We really do. That’s why we made GC-HELP as easy as possible for homeowners to use to finance their home energy efficiency projects. Homeowners can be approved within an hour of application and begin planning their home improvements right away.

In order to access a GC-HELP loan, a homeowner must commit to a 15 percent reduction in their home’s energy usage. Every home able to make even a 15 percent reduction is a reason to celebrate. Typically, homeowners who utilize our GC-HELP decide to invest more into their home’s energy efficiency. On average, homeowners who choose to finance their home energy improvements with a GC-HELP loan invest up to 25 percent more in their home.

“We saw an increase in what people were able to do.”

Bigger projects mean deeper savings. And deeper savings means a greater investment in our local economy, longer strides in improving the air quality of our region, and a much more significant impact in the environment. Examples of the type of larger projects funded by GC-HELP include geothermal heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to traditional HVAC systems, geothermal heating systems utilize renewable technology to heat and cool local homes.

In addition to encouraging deeper savings for homeowners, GC-HELP has made energy saving home improvements possible for families who otherwise would not have been able to move forward with a home energy upgrade. Overall, it makes projects more manageable for homeowners, no matter what the size of the project

Deep Energy Savings

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. Typically, this means addressing air leaks in the home through air sealing, insulating attic floors and walls, replacing inefficient HVAC systems, and addressing the small details that add up in savings, for instance, the installation of programmable thermostats..

“ Our residential customers have saved an estimated 6 Million kWh. That’s enough energy to take a 747 to the moon and back – 6 times. ”

The first GC-HELP loan was funded in June of 2011. As of April 16, 2013, over one hundred homeowners in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region have taken advantage of the opportunity to improve the quality of their homes through energy efficiency upgrades with GC-HELP.

The Energy Alliance has helped over 1,800 residential property owners to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes through our residential program. Together, our residential customers save an estimated 6 million kWh of energy annually.

Development of Greater Cincinnati

According to Andy Holzhauser, the founder and CEO of the Energy Alliance, the availability of energy efficiency loans like the GC-HELP loan is “critical” to the development of the Greater Cincinnati region. Andy believes, “there’s no better unsecured loan in the market today. It’s very customer friendly, with a low-interest rate offering an extended term and no pre-payment penalty.  A homeowner can take it for three months or ten years or anything in between.” In other words, GC-HELP is flexible enough to work for almost anyone, and it helping Cincinnati to improve its infrastructure and develop an industry.

“There’s more work to be done.”

The challenge remains to make every home and building in the region energy efficient. Until then, from our perspective, there’s more work to be done.

To learn more about GC-HELP, visit our GC-HELP page.

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GCEA Sub-recipient of $100,000 EPA Grant

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance sub-recipient of $100,000 US EPA grant through City of Cincinnati to help non-profits lower their energy costs

Cincinnati – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA), a local non-profit providing energy efficiency services to residences and non-profits, was named a sub-recipient today of a $100,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency through the city of Cincinnati. The grant, a part of the city’s $500,000 Climate Showcase Communities award, will allow GCEA to help the city’s non-profit organizations lower their energy-related overhead and contribute to the success of the Green Cincinnati Action Plan.

“This award supports GCEA’s ability to provide energy-saving education, project management, and innovative financing solutions to area non-profits, a sector that has been traditionally hard to reach,” said Andy Holzhauser, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. “Local non-profits should be able to use their scarce funding to support their mission, and every dollar we can help them save on their energy bills is another dollar that goes into their programs.”

The Green Cincinnati Action Plan aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 8% by 2012, or 2% annually. It provides the additional benefits of creating jobs, conserving scarce natural resources, saving money, enhancing the local economy, and improving air quality and public health.

“This funding will provide a tremendous boost to fulfilling the vision and programs in the Green Cincinnati Action Plan” – Larry Falkin, director of the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Quality

Being named a Climate Showcase Community cements Cincinnati’s status as a national leader on sustainability and climate protection.   Only 20 communities received the grant out of a pool of 450 applicants.  The Green Cincinnati Action Plan will be used by EPA as an example of municipal “best practices” in promoting sustainability.