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.