energy alliance news

Arlinghaus and Arronco Receive Prestigious National ENERGY STAR® Award

Contractor Awards: Arlinghaus and Arronco

Cincinnati, OH – May 16, 2013 – Two of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (Energy Alliance)’s Home Performance Contractors, Arlinghaus Heating & Air Conditioning (Arlinghaus) and Arronco Smart Home Energy Solutions (Arronco), have been recognized as national market leaders in the home performance industry. They are recipients of the ENERGY STAR® 2012 Century Club Award.

Arlinghaus and Arronco are two of only ninety-seven Century Club Awardees in the United States. ENERGY STAR bestows this award when a participating Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor completes 100 or more whole-home energy efficiency upgrades within a calendar year.

The award recognizes contractors who have dedicated themselves to helping homeowners improve the comfort of their homes, reduce energy costs, and protect the environment. The success of these contractors has led to the creation of thousands of local job hours, improved air quality for our region, and thousands of dollars in savings annually for homeowners in our region.

Brian Arlinghaus, co-owner of Arlinghaus Heating & Air Conditioning, was very honored by this award. Arlinghaus believes in home performance, as does every member of his team. In his words, “Everybody here believes in it. That’s what makes it work.” Eighteen members of the Arlinghaus team had a home energy assessment completed for their own homes. The results were surprising.  “It was an eye opener for me,” admitted Arlinghaus. “My house wasn’t performing the way it should, and I have high end, efficient systems. I had seven gas leaks in my own home, and I had no idea. And I have four children.”

Mark Toy, the sales manager for Arronco, called the award a tremendous honor for the company and its staff. Toy contributes the company’s success to the effort and time spent to shift the mindset of its employees, the ability to engage customers and ask the right questions, and the practice of value partnering. Toy emphasized, “We have our strengths centered on HVAC and energy ratings, and other contractors have their strengths, such as air sealing and insulation. We value partner with other contractors to tap into their knowledge in order to create a strong network of home performance service for our customers.”

At the founding of the Energy Alliance, there were few Home Performance Contractors in the Greater Cincinnati area. Out of less than one hundred contractors nationwide, two deliver Century Club level of service in the Energy Alliance’s network; this gave cause to celebrate for the Energy Alliance. Andy Holzhauser, CEO, commented, “We are very proud to partner with contractors such as Arlinghaus and Arronco. Their contribution to our program has helped transform the public perception of energy efficiency in our region. Without their dedication to customer service and education, we would not be where we are today.”

Arlinghaus and Arronco received their Century Club Awards at the Energy Alliance’s Annual Contractor Meeting Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College.

About Arlinghaus Heating & Air Conditioning

Arlinghaus Heating & Air Conditioning built their family-owned company by creating relationships with every customer, treating each one fairly, taking the time to listen to their needs and responding with the highest quality products and services.

About Arronco Smart Home Energy Solutions

Arronco is a full service home performance company focusing on smart home energy solutions including high efficiency, heating and air conditioning while specializing in geothermal technology.

energy alliance news

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


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

Energy Alliance Leads Nation in Energy Financing

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Wins 2012 CDFA Excellence in Energy Finance Award

CINCINNATI, OHIO – August 2, 2012 – The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) awarded the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance the 2012 Excellence in Energy Finance Award.  The Energy Alliance will formally accept the award this evening in Washington, D.C. at the CDFA National Development Finance Summit.

The Energy Alliance, in partnership with the Cincinnati Development Fund, Inc. received the excellence award for its commercial Building Performance Program, which helps building owners in the Greater Cincinnati area identify ways to make their facilities more energy efficient.

The Energy Alliance utilizes public and private investments to offer market rate financing to program participants that wish to upgrade their building facilities with energy efficiency measures.  Participants can qualify for loans between $100,000 and $1 million with competitive interest rates.

“Using our financing model, a program participant could take an energy efficiency loan for $125,000.  Combine it with an incentive from the utility company, and the estimated payback can be 4 years or less.  In fact, a monthly loan payment could be lower than their utility bill savings,” reflected Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Energy Alliance.

Holzhauser explained that the finance model is attractive to private investors because it offers a low-risk entry into this emerging market.

“Our innovative community partnership with CDF gives us access to a huge pool of commercial buildings in the Cincinnati community – buildings that could see a drastic reduction in their monthly utility and operating costs if they were to install efficient equipment,” said Holzhauser.

For more details about the Building Performance Program visit

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

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

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

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

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Wins Award

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to be awarded Non-Profit of the Year by Green Energy Ohio

CINCINNATI,  OHIO – May 3, 2012 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance will be awarded the Non-Profit of the Year by Green Energy Ohio at the organization’s 12th Annual Meeting. The Energy Alliance received the award for outstanding facilitation of investments in energy efficiency for homeowners, non-profit organizations and commercial building owners through outreach, education, project management and financing solutions.

Awarded one of twenty-five federal Better Buildings Neighborhood grants, the Energy Alliance has been able to expand its offerings to homeowners and non-profits in the Greater Cincinnati area. With the $17 million Department of Energy grant the organization has also developed programs to help commercial and multi-family buildings reduce their energy waste.

The Energy Alliance will be one of eleven recipients of GEO awards for 2011 achievements. The Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a nonprofit organization that promotes economically and environmentally sustainable energy policies and practices in Ohio. The organization conducts outreach on all forms of renewable energy, serves as the Ohio American Solar Energy Society Chapter and provides a statewide residential solar thermal rebate.

In addition to the Annual Meeting and awards recognition, there will be a luncheon, trade show, review of the 2011 Annual Report and featured speakers.

What: Green Energy Ohio Non-Profit of the Year Award

When: Saturday, May 5, 2012, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Mound Advanced Technology Center, 480 Vantage Point, Miamisburg, OH 45342

Who: Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Green Energy Ohio and additional award recipients

Low interest loan to help residents make energy upgrades

Local loan program gets $500,000 boost from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

CINCINNATI – March 29, 2012 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (Energy Alliance) announced today that The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) will invest $500,000 into a local loan program that helps residents make energy upgrades to their homes, typically saving residents 20 percent or more on their annual energy bills.

This “impact investment,” a type of loan made with charitable funds, is being made to the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s loan program, which provides unsecured loans of up to $20,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6.99 percent to qualified residents to make their homes more energy efficient.  In addition, homeowners who use the loan program can save up to 35 percent on the total cost of the upgrades.  That means $10,000 in upgrades to such things as windows, doors, insulation and/or heating and cooling systems would only cost a homeowner $6,500.

“This is really a win-win for everyone,’’ said Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Energy Alliance. “This contribution is helping us achieve our goals in creating a sustainable loan fund, and helps us potentially attract more national funding that will cut down the cost for future investors. “And all the while, we are able to provide homeowners real savings to improve their homes, lower their utility costs and create jobs for local contractors, which is making a real and continued investment in our local economy.’’

That is exactly why The Greater Cincinnati Foundation made an impact investment in GCEA, said Robert Killins, GCF’s Program Director of Vibrant Places.  The Foundation has made several grants to support the start-up operation of the Energy Alliance since 2009, including $250,000 in grants to conduct energy assessments and retrofits for nonprofit organizations. To date, the Energy Alliance has leveraged approximately $20 million dollars in public and private capital to facilitate energy efficiency for homeowners, nonprofit organizations and commercial building owners.

“Impact investments use charitable assets to support projects that can generate revenue and financial returns as well as direct community benefits,” he said. “They help make an even greater difference in multiple ways right here where we live.”

The goal of the nonprofit Energy Alliance is to create a $10 million pooled loan fund, seeded with $2.5 million of a $17 million U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings grant, and raising $7.5 million in private capital to sustain the loan program. A sustainable loan fund will generate the following benefits:

  • GC-HELP is a low-cost, fixed rate, unsecured loan for up to 10 years is made available to qualified homeowners in Hamilton County in Ohio and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky for both emergency and proactive energy improvements. There are no application fees. Comparable unsecured loans are offered at 15 percent, while many unsecured credit cards have rates over 20 percent.
  • Contractors can offer an attractive financing plan to help their customers make energy improvements in their homes, generating more business for the region’s contractors.
  • Lenders can participate in an attractive investment opportunity that allows them to invest in a new market, reach new consumers and deploy their capital with significantly mitigated risk.

Homeowners and contractors can apply online at

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit 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

The Greater Cincinnati Foundationhelps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As a community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Visit

Forest Park homeowners can save 50 percent on energy upgrades

City and local non-profit team up again to reinstate popular efficiency program

FOREST PARKMarch 14, 2012 – The City of Forest Park announced today it is bringing back a popular program that offers all local residents a 50 percent discount to make home energy improvements.

The city is partnering with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to provide homeowners a full home energy assessment and access to financial incentives, which can mean a savings of more than $1,000 a year on utility bills.

The Forest Park Residential Energy Efficiency Program was launched last year, during which time 50 homes received energy efficiency upgrades. On average, those improvements saved homeowners about $550 a year on utility bills ― with some enjoying a savings of over $1,000. Forest Park is contributing $20,000 to continue to fund the program this year.

“Investing in your home provides immediate savings, while improving the comfort and value of your home,” said Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Energy Alliance.

The partnership provides everything a resident needs to complete energy improvements including:

  • A certified three-to-four-hour home energy assessment for $50 dollars ($400 value).
  • Trained and certified contractors who will provide comprehensive home energy assessments and improvements.
  • A complete project plan that includes cost-effective energy saving opportunities, including available incentives and financing options.
  • A 50 percent savings on the cost for projects up to $12,000 (Forest Park’s additional 15 percent incentive can only be used for air sealing and insulation measures).
  • GC-HELP low-interest 6.99 percent unsecured loan.
  • Quality assurance to verify the installed upgrades.

City leaders are advising residents to register for the program early this year at The city of Forest Park and the Energy Alliance will host a special open house for residents to learn more about the program and talk with certified contractors. The open house is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 10 at the Forest Park Senior Center, 11555 Winton Road. Anyone with questions can call 513-595-5263.

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

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. Visit

2012 Green Business Award

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Awarded 2012 Green Business Award for Education/Outreach – Nonprofit

CINCINNATI – March 21, 2012 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance was the recipient of the 2012 USGBC/Business Courier Green Business Award for Education/Outreach – Nonprofit at an evening reception held at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, March 20, 2012. The Energy Alliance was also awarded a Finalist Green Business Award in the Market Strategy – Nonprofit.

The nonprofit is on a mission to help area communities reduce their energy usage. Launched in 2010, the community outreach program provided education, expertise and innovative financing options for communities in the Greater Cincinnati area to improve the efficiency of their homes, businesses and nonprofits.

The goal of the community outreach program was to drive the demand for energy efficiency in a personal way. The Energy Alliance accomplished this by reaching out to homeowners directly through community engagement and neighborhood canvassing. Since the launch of the program, the Energy Alliance has reached more than 5,100 residents via events and canvasses and more than 6,000 unique visitors through online outreach. It has received more than 1,400 home energy assessment requests leading to 650 completed home energy upgrades.

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

Building Performance Training Center

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance funds new center at Cincinnati State: Area contractors can earn credentials for green jobs 

CINCINNATI – December 5, 2011– The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance awarded a $500,000 grant to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to fund a new center that will train contractors to perform energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners.

The Building Performance Training Center, which will incorporate national standards into its curriculum, is designed to provide employers with a pool of credentialed workers for jobs involving energy efficiency analysis and improvements to existing buildings. It will be run by Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center in Evendale.

“Industry leaders and contractors have been telling us there is a shortage of skilled and credentialed workforce,’’ said Energy Alliance Executive Director Andy Holzhauser. “The creation of standard guidelines to train and certify contractors helps homeowners have the confidence and assurance to hire a home performance contractor to perform a home energy upgrade.”

An Energy Alliance Contractor 101 Training program set for December 6 and 7 will orientate new home performance contractors and installers into the Home Performance with Energy Star program. 

Jim Tenhundfeld, Project and Workforce Assurance Manager at Cincinnati State, said the Building Performance Training Center’s training modules will include such topics as:

  • Air sealing/insulation
  • Combustion safety
  • Building analysis
  • Contractor screening and approval

Each of these areas will involve intensive training on specialized subtopics. For example, in one class contractors will learn how to lower energy loss from air leakage, as well as reduce pollutants and allergens through air migration.

The center is an outgrowth of a U.S. Department of Energy initiative to create National Worker Certification Standards and Training Program accreditation for building weatherization services using a whole-building approach to energy efficiency investments. By the summer of 2012, Tenhundfeld and Holzhauser said DOE expects to have National Worker Certification standards established for such home energy retrofit job classifications as energy auditor, installer/technician, crew leader, and quality assurance inspector.

The goal of the grant is to develop a sustainable business model for the training center so that it can sustain itself beyond the grant period.

“The partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is an excellent opportunity for Cincinnati State to provide certified training for local contractors participating in the program,’’ Tenhundfeld said. “Our goal is to provide the best national and certified training programs available anywhere.”

In 2010, the Energy Alliance was one of 25 communities in the nation to receive a grant through the DOE’s Better Buildings program for energy efficiency investments in Hamilton County in Ohio and Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Kentucky.

In May of 2010, the Energy Alliance began with three home performance contractors in Greater Cincinnati and completed five home energy upgrades during the first couple of months. Today, the Energy Alliance has 15 approved home performance contractors working in its four-county territory and has completed more than 325 home energy upgrades. The Energy Alliance’s goal is to weatherize thousands of area homes and non-profit buildings.

To learn more about the certified classes available through Cincinnati State please visit

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

The Workforce Development Center (WDC) at Cincinnati State provides career training for individuals and meets the needs of corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profits for high-value workforce education and training that fits their specific content, timetable, and location requirements. Organizations of all sizes count on WDC experts to enhance their employees’ professional skills, teach new skills, re-train, and deliver highly customized, hands-on training programs. Visit

energy alliance news

Energy Efficiency Market Study

Energy Improvements Can Save Greater Cincinnati $60 Million and Create Over 300 Local Jobs

CINCINNATI, OHIO  – December 2,  2011– Energy efficiency upgrades to the area’s homes and non-profit buildings can save area residents $60 million in lower energy bills and create more than 300 local jobs, according to a study released today by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

The study, conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, is the first of its kind in the region. Researchers found that routine energy upgrades, such as installing more insulation and reducing drafts, as well as upgrading heating and air conditioning units, will also reduce energy related air pollution.

“My Mom used to say: ‘Close the door, you are letting the heat out.’ That’s what we have here. Our house is our community and we have dollars leaking out,’’ said Jeff Rexhausen, associate director of research at the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center. “The dollars are leaking out because we are spending them on energy. If we saved money on energy, we could spend our money on other things and that would improve our local economy. That’s really what this report is about.’’

Researchers of the study, commissioned by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, examined energy, building, census, and environmental data for Hamilton, Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties – which are all served by the non-profit group. The Energy Alliance provides low-cost financial incentives for homeowners and non-profit groups to make energy efficiency upgrades. The report, “The Energy Efficiency Market in the Greater Cincinnati Region: Energy Savings Potential and Strategies to Improve Performance of Residential and Non-Profit Buildings,” quantifies the level of economic impact those upgrades can make to the region.

The findings were shared last month with leaders from local governments, businesses, banks and foundations to increase awareness and spur continued partnership with the Energy Alliance.

Researchers found that if 69,000 homeowners and 460 non-profits make energy improvements using the Energy Alliance’s program, they would save $22.2 million in 2020 and $59.6 million in lower energy bills in 2030.  Further, most homeowners would see immediate cash savings in the first year of the energy upgrade and an average savings of $500 a year for 18 years.  

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is one of only 35 organizations in the country to be awarded a grant through the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program.  The mission of the program is to transform the energy efficiency market.  What that means for The Energy Alliance is investing in technology, workforce development, and financing solutions to dramatically increase both the supply and demand of the market.

To date, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has provided expertise and funding to weatherize 325 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homes with such improvements.

“We know heating and air-conditioning systems, as well as windows, will be upgraded as usual,’’ said Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. “But now we can both drive new work and have a role in the existing market to make sure it’s getting done in a more efficient manner. We now can generate new investment in our economy.”

As homeowners save money on their energy bills, their spending will shift and create the need for jobs in other sectors of the local economy, researchers said.  They calculated that around 317 local jobs would be created in 2030 in the areas of construction and manufacturing as well as in trades and services.  Those jobs would pump an additional $13 million into the local economy.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy resource available to the Cincinnati region. The Energy Alliance programs are a great deal for home and building owners who take advantage of them, utility customers on the whole, and the economy of the region in general,” said the report’s lead author Eric Mackres, who is a Senior Policy Analyst for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Researchers also projected  that energy upgrades provided through Energy Alliance programs would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 250,000 metric tons, nitrogen oxides by 340 metric tons and sulfur dioxide by 1,640 metric tons in 2030.

“This really has a triple bottom line: We can each make an investment in our homes, and in doing so, we will make an economic investment in our community that has a societal benefit as well as benefits to our earth and the climate,’’ Holzhauser said.

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

The University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center,founded in 1977, is a leading provider of economic resources for educators, students, businesses, and public agencies.  Visit

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit