Low- and Moderate-Income Homeowners Offered 0% Interest Rate for Energy Upgrades through Smart-E Loan Program

Smart-E Loan Spring Special Offer has a 1.99% rate for all homeowners making energy improvements

 

Rocky Hill, CT (March 18, 2021) – As part of its Smart-E Loan Spring Special Offer, the Connecticut Green Bank announces 0% loan rates for Connecticut households that are at or below 80% Area Median Income (“AMI”) as defined by the “vulnerable communities” definition underneath Public Act 20-05 passed in the special session last fall. The Smart-E Loan unlocks financing for homeowners seeking to make home performance and energy upgrades, such as adding insulation, improving windows, updating heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems with new boilers, furnaces, or heat pumps (air or ground source), installing electric vehicle charging stations, and adding battery storage to solar PV systems. Additionally, homeowners approved for assistance with crumbling foundations can qualify for 0% Smart-E loans. For all other homeowners, the rate will be lowered to 1.99%.

“The Smart-E Loan Spring Special is intended to further stimulate the recovery of the state’s clean energy economy by offering low interest rates to all homeowners for projects that reduce their energy cost burdens. By offering a special zero interest rate for lower income households, we hope to help these families reduce their energy bills, and improve the comfort of their home. With nearly 400 contractors registered in the Smart-E program, many local small businesses will also benefit from this promotion,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank.

The Smart-E Loan is made available through a network of nine participating local banks, credit unions, and a community development financial institution (CDFI) across the state.

Smart-E Loans through the Spring Special Offer are available for terms of 5, 7, and 10-years. Insulation, heat pump and window loans require completion of an Energize CT Home Energy Solutions (HES) assessment or proof of having completed an energy assessment within the last three years to qualify for the limited-time, reduced rate.

For more information please visit www.ctgreenbank.com/smart-e.

 

Connecticut Green Bank Presents 2020 Awards

PACEsetters and Smart-E Loan Top Performers recognized for their successful efforts in our communities

                              

Rocky Hill, CT (February 24, 2021) – In recognition of their contributions to the deployment of clean energy and demonstrated leadership in their industries in 2020, the Connecticut Green Bank has announced the honorees of their annual PACEsetter Awards and the Smart-E Loan Top Performers. Since 2012, the Green Bank has supported the creation of more than 23,000 job years and over 50,000 clean energy projects, thanks to our network of contractors, interested home- and building owners, and lending partners.

“Connecticut’s clean energy workforce has been strong and growing since 2015, until the pandemic caused a major setback. While the path to a full recovery will be long, our contractors are safely back to work — creating jobs, combatting climate change, and reducing energy burdens for families and building owners across the state. With this backdrop, we are particularly excited to recognize these projects and contractors that highlight the diverse ways our programs made a difference in our communities in 2020,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. “From boutique inns, churches, and community centers, to our homes and neighborhoods, clean energy is powering our daily lives and helping us prosper. In the face of a challenging year, these leaders demonstrate that we can create a thriving future in Connecticut.”

PACEsetter Awards Recipients

The Connecticut Green Bank’s PACEsetter Awards acknowledge contractors, building owners and other stakeholders who are advancing the green energy movement through C-PACE, and whose leadership establishes a “pace” for others in their field to follow. The award winners are a driving force behind the success of the Green Bank’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which has surpassed 330 closed loans and $184 million in total close project financing that are estimated to save $295 million in energy costs. These are the sixth annual PACEsetter Awards. 

C-PACE is an innovative program, administered by the Green Bank, which helps commercial, industrial, and non-profit property owners access affordable, long-term financing for qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that are repaid through a voluntary assessment. As the program grows, more Connecticut businesses achieve lower energy costs and increase their bottom-line.

The Green Bank acknowledged both contractors and building owners across multiple categories for their work in 2020:

Outstanding Projects, 2020

Con Edison Solutions and Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, for their 75 kW solar installation at the Community Center, a Purchase Power Agreement repaid through C-PACE, which is producing electricity and helping to reduce costs.

 

Omega Church in New Haven and Complete Building and Mechanicals of Guilford, for their HVAC and lighting project – Complete Building and Mechanicals first C-PACE project – which will help the Church maintain safe, healthy operations year-round.

Marriot Residence Inn in Stamford, for their new construction project which is an outstanding example of the ability of C-PACE to support ground up new construction projects in the hospitality industry. This is also an example of Connecticut’s thriving open market for C-PACE, as Greenworks Lending, an active capital provider, made nearly $6.5 million in financing available to support the Marriot’s plan during COVID-19 and the economic challenges that it created.


West Lane Inn, a boutique 17-room inn in Ridgefield, and Eastern Mechanical Services, Inc. of Danbury, an HVAC contractor serving Fairfield County since 1985, for their project that removed an old oil heating system and replaced with efficient electric heat pumps that harness renewable energy (heat) from the environment, reducing costs and increasing guest comfort. This was the contractor’s first C-PACE project.

 

Marcus Communications, for a first-of-its-kind C-PACE project at their communications tower in Bolton. The solar arrays installed will provide clean and reliable energy power for communication and emergency services to a variety of customers and clients. This is the first time that C-PACE has been used to finance a project at a communications tower in the United States, according to PACENation, a national nonprofit association that advocates for PACE financing.

 

Accelerating PACE, 2020:

Verogy, a commercial solar developer headquartered in Hartford that has integrated C-PACE into their business model and became the first developer to offer their own C-PACE-backed Power Purchase Agreement, demonstrating a transformative approach to the market.

 

Smart-E Loan Top Performers

For 2020, the Green Bank is recognizing 17 Smart-E Loan Top Performers. In 2020, the Top Performers helped over 250 families across Connecticut make home energy improvements – allowing them to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and live more comfortably in their homes. The Smart-E Loan offers homeowners no money down, low-interest financing for more than 40 qualifying projects that reduce energy use and lower utility costs. Since 2013, the Smart-E loan has enabled more than 4,000 families to make improvements with a projected lifetime energy cost savings over $70 million.

In partnership with nine participating local lenders, the Top Performers’ projects surpassed $4 million in closed Smart-E Loans. Financed projects included insulation and window upgrades, high efficiency heating and cooling solutions, rooftop solar PV, health and safety improvements, and more.

The Smart-E Loan Top Performers were chosen based on criteria including more than just closed loans. These contractors worked hard to integrate the Smart-E loan into their training and marketing, while providing high-level customer service. Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, these contractors were able to continue to increase access to clean energy solutions for homeowners.

The 2020 Top Performers (in alphabetical order; * denotes 2019 Top Performer recognition):

Connecticut’s Energy and Transportation Costs are Unaffordable for Many Households, Especially the Most Vulnerable

New report shows gap between what Connecticut families are paying for energy and transportation and what is affordable, creating a cost burden for lower income households

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 1, 2020) – According to a recently released report, combined spending on energy, transportation, and housing in Connecticut households exceeds affordable levels in areas throughout the state. On average, these costs are 49% statewide, which is above the 45% threshold for affordability. Low- and moderate-income households are burdened at a higher rate – 68% – than wealthier residents because these costs consume a larger portion of their household income.

These findings are from “Mapping Household Energy and Transportation Affordability in Connecticut,” a study produced by VEIC on behalf of the Connecticut Green Bank and Operation Fuel. The report was partially funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant for research into strategies for improving access to solar for low-income communities. The Connecticut Green Bank, in partnership with the Clean Energy States Alliance, the grant’s managing organization, has been exploring energy’s intersection with other low-income household burdens.

The study focused on spending in three categories: building energy (household heating fuel and electricity); transportation (vehicle fuel, transit costs, and vehicle ownership costs); and housing (total shelter costs, insurance, taxes, fees, etc.). Examining these categories, VEIC was able to determine the cost burden, household spending expressed as a percentage of annual income, and the affordability gap, which is the difference between an affordable level of spending and actual dollars spent.

“We know that Connecticut is among the states with the highest energy costs in the nation. When you combine this expense with high transportation and housing costs, it can be crippling for a low-income household. While over 430,000 households in Connecticut meet the eligibility requirements for energy bill assistance, only 18.7% are served through available funding. We need more comprehensive and sustainable solutions to help low-income families in Connecticut afford their energy costs,” said Brenda Watson, Executive Director of Operation Fuel and member of the Board of Directors of the Green Bank.

Other key findings include:

  • Energy burden is highest among low-income households: 6-7 times higher.
  • High energy burdens are clustered in urban areas such as New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport.
  • The combination of efficiency and solar can help close the building energy affordability gap for most households in the state that own their dwelling, dramatically reducing annual energy costs.
  • Fewer options are available to renting households, although existing programs, like Energize CT’s Home Energy Solutions do substantially reduce building energy burden.
  • While Connecticut has multiple programs available to low-income customers to help them better afford their utility bills, these programs on their own lack sufficient funding to meet all the needs of customers.
  • Transportation costs are high not just in urban centers, but across the entire state
  • Reducing transportation costs is crucial to preserving affordability
  • Inadequate public and shared transport options result in a personal vehicle needed almost everywhere for an acceptable level of mobility

The report sits at the intersection of many current issues brought to the forefront in 2020, including increased energy usage as people are sheltering in place, greater focus on indoor air quality issues, and the way these factors disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income residents.

The report points out that existing resources are not enough to cover energy needs for the most vulnerable. The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (“CEAP”) provides direct bill assistance to households earning <60% of state median income. The CEAP program budget is approximately $88 million, which is only sufficient to serve roughly 20% of the 430,825 eligible households in the state. Both of the state’s investor-owned utilities also offer matching payment and arrearage forgiveness programs. In 2019 these programs served nearly 19,000 customers but only 58% successfully completed the program.

A bright spot was VEIC’s finding that programs that combine energy efficiency and solar can close the building energy affordability gap for many low- and moderate-income households who are homeowners. Customers that participated in the Solar For All program from PosiGen and the Connecticut Green Bank in 2019 are estimated to have saved an average of $1,315 on their energy costs.

“There are a number of promising, transformative opportunities to reduce energy burdens in Connecticut,” said Justine Sears, Consultant at VEIC. “For instance, working to make the transportation system more equitable and accessible in urban, suburban, and rural areas would significantly reduce transportation burdens for people – especially low-income households.” To address the transportation issues identified in the report, VEIC recommends strategies to minimize the need for and use of private vehicles by increasing public transit, and promoting electric vehicles and e-bikes, which offer fuel savings over gasoline-powered vehicles.

To access the full report, please visit: https://www.ctgreenbank.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Mapping-Household-Energy-and-Transportation-Affordability-Report-Oct-2020.pdf

To join an informational webinar detailing the report on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 1 pm EST, register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6590608348170594317

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

 About Operation Fuel

Operation Fuel was founded in 1977 after a worldwide oil embargo caused an unprecedented escalation in the price of home heating. Although federal and state governments had developed energy assistance programs for families experiencing poverty, low-income working families who were not eligible for government help and in crisis were left out in the cold.

To address the crisis in Connecticut, a collaboration among religious communities, industry leaders in banking, insurance, and utilities, Father Thomas Lynch, and Governor Ella Grasso created Operation Fuel, intended to provide relief for residents who fell through the gaps of government assistance programs. Our mission, is to ensure equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy and utility assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy

About VEIC

VEIC is a sustainable energy company on a mission to generate the energy solutions the world needs. For over 30 years VEIC has been working with governments, utilities, foundations and businesses across North America to develop and deploy clean energy services that provide immediate and lasting change. With expertise in energy efficiency, building and transportation electrification, and new approaches for a clean and flexible grid, VEIC brings innovative solutions to the market. VEIC is nationally recognized for developing pilots and programs that optimize energy use, reduce energy burdens for low-income customers, and advance new technologies. In addition to our full-service consulting business, VEIC administers three large-scale sustainable energy programs: Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Smart, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). www.veic.org.   

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Heat Pumps Provide Comfort and Improve Air Quality All Year

Low-rate financing combined with increased incentives makes heat pump installation more attractive

Rocky Hill, CT (Sept. 22, 2020) – Did you know that heat pumps are a great way to keep your home cool and enhance your home’s air quality? According to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) “Air Source Heat Pump Buying Guide,” heat pumps are the best choice when trying to your reduce carbon footprint as well as filtering or dehumidifying air in your home.

Now, with summer’s heat fading and Connecticut residents looking to keep their home’s warm and improve home air quality and filtration, homeowners can address these concerns by taking advantage of heat pump technology and low-rate financing through the Energize CT Smart-E loan. Offered through the Connecticut Green Bank, select local banks and credit unions, and a network of contractors, this special limited-time Smart-E loan offer provides 2.99% financing for 5-, 7- and 10-year terms on new heat pump installations. Standard rate Smart-E Loans (4.49% – 6.99%) can be used to finance energy improvements including solar, windows, heating and cooling and other energy efficiency measures.

“When we design a special Smart-E offer, we have a number of goals in mind,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “We want to support state policies to reach environmental targets, and we want consumers to save energy and money. We also want to give our clean energy contractors resources as the green energy economy begins to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This special offer was designed to support Connecticut’s climate change plan which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and encourage adoption of energy-efficiency technologies such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and heat pump water heaters to decarbonize buildings.

“People often forget that heat pumps can perform like an air conditioning unit in the warmer months,” said Ryan F. Murphy of Ryan F. Murphy Heating and Cooling LLC in New Milford, one of the Green Bank’s “top performer” Smart-E contractors in recent years. “Heat pumps are typically twice as efficient as window units, and more efficient than conventional central AC also. In colder months, operating costs of heat pumps generally beat homes heated with oil or electric baseboard.”

“Technological advancements in recent years have greatly improved this type of heating and cooling, and we’re currently seeing thousands of cold-climate heat pumps being installed at high rates of customer satisfaction,” said Derek Koundakjian, NEEP Buildings and Technologies Associate. “On top of being highly efficient machines with a lighter carbon footprint, heat pumps effectively filter and dehumidify air, improving air quality and comfort of your home year-round.”

Smart-E borrowers must have an Energize CT Home Energy Solutions (HES) program energy assessment of their home completed to qualify for the loan. Currently, all HES assessments are available to eligible customers at no-cost. The program is also offering up to 100% off approved insulation projects recommended during the assessment.

Learn more about this special offer at https://www.ctgreenbank.com/smarteheatpump

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

About NEEP

NEEP was founded in 1996 as a non-profit whose mission is to serve the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to accelerate regional collaboration to promote advanced energy efficiency and related solutions in home, buildings, industry, and communities. Our vision is that the region’s homes, buildings, and communities are transformed into efficient, affordable, low-carbon resilient places to live, work, and play. For more information about NEEP, please visit www.neep.org

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Solar For All Benefits the Poor

Note: On August 13, 2020, the Hartford Courant ran a Letter to the Editor submitted by Connecticut Green Bank CEO and President Bryan Garcia. The published letter was a shortened version (to fit the Courant’s guidelines); the full version of the letter is below.  


By Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank

Paul Steidler’s July 26, 2020 article “Rush to Renewable Energy Hurts Poor” tries to make the point that America’s expanded use of natural gas will not only benefit our economy and the environment, but also help those who are less fortunate.  He notes that renewable energy is among the reasons why residential electricity is 66% more expensive in New England than the rest of the country.

In Connecticut, low-to-moderate income families and communities of color are reducing the burden of their energy costs not by consuming more natural gas, but by installing solar on their rooftops and making their homes more energy efficient. The energy affordability gap for our most vulnerable citizens is about $1,400 per year, which means that the poor are paying more for energy in our state than what is affordable.  Through state efforts in partnership with the private sector, it is solar power and energy efficiency that are reducing that affordability gap by nearly $1,100 per year not natural gas.  Our state is a “parity state” when it comes to income and “beyond parity state” when it comes to race in terms of solar deployment – meaning the poor and communities of color are demanding solar power and energy efficiency more than those with means and who are White.

Nearly a year ago to the day, Hartford experienced some of the hottest weather on record.  The weather was so hot and humid that state officials warned people about two problems – excessive heat and bad air.  This resulted in higher air conditioning usage stressing the electricity grid, resulting in ISO-NE calling upon higher-cost and higher-polluting power that came from fossil fuels.  These fossil fuel power plants emit pollutants that react with sunlight to create smog which contributes to poor air quality and is harmful to public health.  At the same time, across the Constitution State, there were nearly 28,000 homes powered by the sun that were providing 230 MW of power output during peak times. This reduced $3 million of peak demand costs which lowered energy costs for all electric ratepayers. It also removed the need for more power generation from burning fossil fuels thereby cleaning the air we all breathe.

Air pollution is not good for our public health – and it is especially detrimental when you have a disease that targets the respiratory system such as COVID-19.  We are seeing more clearly today than ever before, how pollution from fossil fuel resources creates a disproportionate share of the negative environmental impacts on the public health within communities of color.  Call it environmental justice or climate justice, natural gas and its infrastructure aren’t good for the poor! 

Right now, Connecticut is in the process of modernizing and decarbonizing its antiquated energy system into a 21st century clean energy platform that will continue to enable the growth of our green economy.  By combining renewable energy resources like the sun, with energy efficiency, battery storage, and demand response, we are working towards a zero-carbon electricity grid that will fuel zero emission vehicles for our roads and power carbon-free renewable heating and cooling systems for our homes.

During this pandemic, we are all experiencing tough economic times, but everyone can be part of the solution. Schedule a home energy audit (no-cost). Insulate your home to make it more energy efficient (rebates up to 100 percent available). Install solar on your roof (it’s affordable).  Solar for all, benefits all of us, especially the poor!

Financial partnership expands energy-efficiency loan pool for Connecticut homeowners

Capital for Change, Amalgamated Bank, Connecticut Green Bank team up to boost successful loan program

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (May 8, 2020) – An innovative collaboration among three financial entities has set the stage for more Connecticut homeowners to gain access to energy-efficiency loans while reducing costs up to 20 percent for many utility ratepayers.

The collaboration is among Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut’s largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution; Amalgamated Bank; and the Connecticut Green Bank.

“This new financial model is one of the few – if not the only – such arrangements in the United States helping to boost the growth of unsecured loans supporting consumer energy-efficiency and solar loans,” said Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President at the Green Bank.

“The model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state’s energy goals,” Hunter said.

“We’re deeply pleased to participate in what we believe is a new financial model for positive community development,” said Calvin B. Vinal, President and CEO of Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut’s largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution.

“This will allow us to make more funds available for energy-efficient and solar housing improvements in Connecticut,” Vinal said. “Participating utility ratepayers will see savings on their energy bills of 10 to 20 percent, depending on the energy measures installed and fuel source.”

“We are proud to join the Connecticut Green Bank and Capital for Change Inc. in providing energy efficiency loans to Connecticut residents,” said Keith Mestrich, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.

“As America’s socially responsible bank, we believe that our deposits can be used for creating a more sustainable planet and this collaboration affords us an opportunity to expand our impact,” Mestrich said.

The partnership has made available a $27 million line of credit for the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Finance Company (CEEFCo) leveraged by CEEFCo’s ratepayer funding and unsecured loan portfolio, allowing CEEFCo’s portfolio to grow to $36 million. CEEFCo is a nonprofit subsidiary of Capital for Change.

The new model allows CEEFCo to continue to grow its loan portfolio while minimizing the need for additional ratepayer capital, Hunter and Vinal said.

Financing arrangements closed in late December 2019 and took effect in February, Vinal said. At CEEFCo’s inception in 2011, initial funding was provided through legislative mandate by Connecticut energy utility Eversource, using approximately $17 million collected from ratepayers over 10 years. 

With $12.1 million of this capitalization remaining, ratepayer funding has leveraged production of 6,000 loans for $51 million of capital funding at a cost of $5 million. In the past several years, this portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and their earlier financial partner stopped lending.

“We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Green Bank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank,” said Vinal.

“We’re extremely grateful that Amalgamated appreciates the quality of our portfolio and the impact we’re having on households throughout Connecticut, and that the Green Bank responded with its own support to make it work,” Vinal said.

“In the past several years, our portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and our earlier financial partner stopped lending,” Vinal said. “We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Greenbank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank.

Amalgamated is providing $22.5 million of funding and the Connecticut Green Bank $4.5 million, with the funding secured only by CEEFCo’s assets.

“This model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state’s energy goals,” Vinal said.

“It’s a great collaboration with financing institutions that support community development and energy sustainability,” Vinal said. “It provides us the liquidity needed to continue to grow that portfolio and provide Connecticut residents more opportunities to save on their energy costs.”

The concept also has broad positive implications for the state’s economy, he said.

“Nationwide, the energy sector is providing jobs in numbers that are similar to those in the automotive industry, led by solar and energy efficiency,” Vinal said. “By promoting energy efficiency, proactive financial models such as this one are helping to improve the environment, create local jobs and save homeowners money.  ”

An extensive resource focusing on energy efficiency in Connecticut – including loan options – is maintained by the utility partnership Energize Connecticut at its website, EnergizeCT.com.

Learn more about Capital for Change at https://www.capitalforchange.org/ and more about Amalgamated Bank can be found at  AmalgamatedBank.com.

COVID-19 Update

Dear Value Stakeholders:
In this challenging, rapidly-changing time, we wanted to again assure you that the Green Bank is doing its best to support the essential contractors, communities, customers and capital providers that we do business with, and our teams are available to answer questions, provide information, manage transactions, and participate in remote meetings and calls. 

We expect to continue to operate remotely through April 22, 2020, in line with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H, and until further notice.  We would advise all of our Connecticut-based stakeholders to remain updated on COVID-19 through the Office of Governor Lamont as well as the official COVID-19 state website.

We will continue to follow Governor Lamont’s instructions during this pandemic.

Also, in order to assist our heroic public health workers during this period of time, we wanted to see if any contractors have any Personal Protective Equipment (e.g., N95 respirators, face and surgical masks, face shields, gloves, protective clothing, etc.).  There are shortages of PPE, which can protect our public health workers who are providing healthcare during this COVID-19 epidemic.  If you can help, please do so (click here).   

We continue to assess the Connecticut market and beyond to better understand and anticipate potential impact, problems and solutions, as we all manage through the COVID-19 situation. We remain committed to strengthening our communities by supporting your businesses that are critical to making the benefits of the green economy inclusive and accessible to all individuals, families, and organizations.

Our stakeholders, including essential contractors, customers, and capital providers, may receive emails dealing with specific programmatic details shortly from specific Green Bank teams with whom you work directly.

In the meantime, remember that we can work through this together in the days ahead. Feel free to reach out with any questions or contact your Green Bank program teams (see email addresses below).
 
Thank you,

Bryan Garcia
President & CEO, Connecticut Green Bank


Green Bank program email addresses:

Smart-E Loan Top Performers for 2019 Honored

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, the 18 Smart-E Loan “Top Performers” of 2019 were honored at the Connecticut Green Bank in Rocky Hill. These 18 contractors are headquartered and serve customers across the state, from New Milford to North Stonington and South Windsor to Stratford, and include HVAC, home performance and solar-focused companies. In 2019, the Top Performers helped over 300 Connecticut families make home energy improvements – allowing them to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and live more comfortably in their homes.

In partnership with nine participating local lenders, the Top Performers’ projects equaled $4.1 million in closed Smart-E Loans. Financed projects include insulation and window upgrades, solar, high efficiency heating and cooling solutions, and more; all helping the state of Connecticut work towards meeting its climate change plan, which focuses on three mitigation wedges: decarbonizing electricity generation, decarbonizing transportation, and decarbonizing buildings.

Out of more than 400 contractors who participate in the program, the Smart-E Loan Top Performers were chosen based on criteria including more than just closed loans (though each had many!). The contractors scheduled in-person Smart-E training for their staff, used Smart-E marketing materials, developed partnerships with Smart-E lenders, and avoided inspection issues. These 18 contractors embraced the Smart-E Loan in 2019, utilizing the flexibility of the product to best serve their customers across the state.

The 2019 Top Performers (in alphabetical order)

Connecticut Green Bank offers financing for remediation of health and safety issues that prevent energy upgrades

Single and multifamily properties can benefit from low interest rate loans to remove mold, asbestos and other issues

 

Rocky Hill, CT (Nov. 21, 2019) – In Connecticut, 58% of the housing stock was built prior to 1969, according to the Partnership for Strong Communities, and this older housing stock can often present problems to home owners and residents. Along with structural and code violations from possible deferred maintenance over time, there is potential for the presence of health and safety issues, like mold and asbestos. The existence of these hazards can also make energy assessments, and related efficiency improvements, impossible. To help implement home energy upgrades and remediate health and safety problems, the Connecticut Green Bank and its partners are offering special low interest rate financing solutions for single- and multi-family homeowners.

For owner-occupied 1-4 family properties, the Smart-E Loan program now allows asbestos and mold remediation to be financed in full (up to $25,000) when completed with an Energize CT Home Energy Solutions (HES) program assessment or other energy-related improvements.

“Mold or asbestos in a home prevents blower door guided air sealing, which is an important part of the HES program,” said Lorenzo Wyatt, owner of Home Comfort Practice. “If we can’t complete this part of the assessment, home owners can’t access the full benefits of efficiency improvements, not to mention the obvious negative health implications.”

Administered by the Green Bank in partnership with nine local lenders (community banks, credit unions and a community development financial institution), the Smart-E Loan offers long-term, low-cost financing for more than 40 qualifying energy improvements. A network of over 500 eligible local contractors completes these upgrades, including insulation, windows, efficient heating and cooling, electric vehicle home charging stations, and solar systems.

“We heard concerns from contractors who are often unable to complete home energy assessments and make recommendations for more comprehensive energy efficiency improvements because of mold or asbestos, especially in low-to-moderate income households,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. “We understand that to provide all of society with a healthier, more prosperous future through the green economy, our financing programs must address these critical issues.”

Smart-E Loan terms range from 5-20 years, with associated not-to-exceed rates fixed between 4.49% – 6.99%. Loan amounts range from $500 – $40,000, though several of the participating community banks do not lend over $25,000. Through June 30, 2019, participating Smart-E Lenders closed 4,266 loans for $65.4 million in financed projects.

For multifamily property owners, particularly those serving low- and moderate-income residents, the Green Bank offers the Energize CT Health and Safety Revolving Loan Fund. This loan was designed to address a wide range of health and safety issues, including mold, asbestos, lead, knob-and-tube wiring, radon, and leaky roofs, that block the way to full energy improvements.

Created thanks to $1.5 million of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) dollars from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Green Bank has already financed projects with these funds. One example is Success Village, a 924-unit housing co-operative in Bridgeport and Stratford. The $165,000 loan will cover a phase one pilot that includes asbestos removal from piping on the central heating system which was installed in the 1960s. Completion of the pilot will inform design, engineering and implementation of health and safety and energy upgrades for the full property.

“We are seeing significant energy, maintenance and other cost savings on properties that replace old, inefficient HVAC equipment, weatherize building envelopes or add solar,” said Kim Stevenson, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Inclusive Prosperity Capital, the non-profit that manages the Multifamily Program on behalf of the Green Bank. “These savings also improve the living environment for residents and improve property values.  We strongly encourage owners to evaluate their buildings for missed savings opportunities.” 

The Energize CT Health and Safety Loan fund offers financing of $10,000 to $300,000 (waivers for larger loans are possible) with terms up to 20 years at 2.99%.

To learn more about these loans, visit https://www.ctgreenbank.com/smartehealthsafety/ and https://www.ctgreenbank.com/programs/multifamily/energizect-health-safety-loan/.

Clean Energy States Alliance Launches Major Initiative to Advance Solar in Under-Resourced Communities

US Department of Energy Funds CESA’s Efforts to Scale Up Solar for Low-and Moderate-Income Households

Montpelier, VT (October 3, 2019) – The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) will lead a wide-ranging initiative to accelerate the development of solar projects that benefit low-and-moderate-income (LMI) households and communities. The “Scaling Up Solar for Under-Resourced Communities Project” is being supported by a three-year funding award of $1.1 million from the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

The project team will focus on three distinct subsets of the LMI solar market: single-family homes, manufactured homes, and multifamily affordable housing.

For the single-family homes component of the initiative, CESA will work with Connecticut Green Bank, Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and PosiGen Solar to evaluate and promote a successful initiative that has brought solar to more than 2,500 Connecticut single-family homes, most of which are LMI. State agencies from across the country will be given the opportunity to join a working group where they will receive technical assistance and other support to consider adopting similar programs for their states.

For manufactured homes, CESA, with assistance from representatives of the New Mexico Energy Conservation and Management Division, will examine the potential for using solar to power manufactured homes in different states, based on their housing stock, solar policies, geography, and the applicability of different possible technologies. State government agencies, rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and other stakeholders will be encouraged to join a learning network to explore the potential for launching a pilot project or program for manufactured homes.

The multifamily affordable housing component of the project will build on work carried out by Clean Energy Group (CEG) in conjunction with the Kresge Foundation. CEG and CESA will work with housing developers/owners and community development lenders to replicate and expand loan guarantee and other foundation program-related investment (PRI) models for solar and solar plus battery storage (solar+storage) projects for multifamily affordable housing. Principal objectives will be to increase community resilience and reduce energy costs for low-income households.

CESA has worked actively on LMI solar more than five years. CESA Executive Director Warren Leon remarks that: “CESA is committed to helping state governments and other stakeholders implement solar in ways that provide meaningful benefits to under-resourced communities. The new grant from the US DOE solar office will enable us to significantly expand our outreach and assistance.”

To carry out the new initiative and other work CESA is engaged in related to solar for LMI communities, two talented individuals with strong experience working on this topic have been added to the CESA staff.

CESA Project Director Nicole Hernandez Hammer is a well-known environmental justice advocate, climate change expert, and sea-level researcher. A Guatemalan immigrant, she has worked to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on under-resourced communities across the US. For the past year, she has been a consultant to the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, working primarily with community groups on LMI solar. She was a climate science and community advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists and assistant director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, among other positions. She was recently recognized by NBC as one of the #NBCLatino20

Laura Schieb, CESA project associate, earned a JD at Vermont Law School, as well as an LLM in Energy Law with a Certificate in Climate Law. While at the law school, she was employed as a Global Energy Law Fellow, implementing projects at the Energy Law Clinic, including leading a team preparing a report on low-income solar ownership in Vermont.

To learn about or to sign up for updates about the new Scaling Up Solar for Under-Resourced Communities Project, go to www.cesa.org/projects/low-income-clean-energy/scaling-up-lmi-solar/.

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About the Clean Energy States Alliance 
The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy. CESA members—mostly state agencies—include many of the most innovative, successful, and influential public funders of clean energy initiatives in the country. CESA facilitates information sharing, provides technical assistance, coordinates multi-state collaborative projects, and communicates the achievements of its members. For more information, visit www.cesa.org.

About the Solar Energy Technologies Office
The US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and performance of solar technologies on the grid. Learn more at energy.gov/solar-office.

For more information, contact: Nate Hausman, Project Director, Clean Energy States Alliance, nate@cleanegroup.org

Ph: 802-223-2554 x206