As energy efficiency becomes more quantifiable and predictable we will continue to see more financial institutions step up to help underwrite these efforts. Kudos to Self Help for their part in backing these projects!
SIS was proud to be a part of this new funding launch with our very own Charlotte native, Josh Hawn, sharing stories of our successful energy efficiency retrofits.
By Bruce HendersonPublished in: Business
The nonprofit Self-Help Credit Union launched a low-interest loan program Thursday to finance energy-efficiency projects in metro Charlotte.
Self-Help, based in Durham, will use a $5.5 million loan and grant from Bank of America, combined with other resources, to offer $15 million in energy loans in Charlotte, Atlanta and six other cities.
In Charlotte, the money will be targeted at retrofits of commercial, community and multifamily buildings, especially those in economically distressed areas, said green initiatives manager Melissa Malkin-Weber. Self-Help will also offer some technical assistance.
Older properties consume far more energy and carry higher utility costs than newer buildings, experts say.
About 70 participants, including energy services and economic development professionals, were expected to attend the launch of the program Thursday at Charlotte’s Great Aunt Stella Center. The event was part of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association’s Clean Energy Connections education series.
The energy loans will range from small “microloans,” such as to day care centers in need of low-flow toilets and more efficient lighting, to multimillion-dollar deals to renovate charter schools. The emphasis in Charlotte will be on small businesses.
“With the larger loans, we’re hoping that they will be doing much more cutting-edge projects like solar hot water on multifamily housing,” Malkin-Weber said. Larger projects will be required to follow green-building standards.
The Bank of America aid allows the credit union to offer a 1.5 percent discount off its regular rates, she said.
It’s been hard previously to interest borrowers in energy efficiency, Malkin-Weber said, in light of North Carolina’s low electric rates.
“What’s different now is that we have an incentive for our traditional borrowers to look at energy efficiency,” she said.
Founded in 1980, Self-Help has loaned nearly $6 billion to families of modest means, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.