Equitable Energy Efficiency Loans
The National Energy Improvement Foundation is a leading lender for energy efficiency improvements.
Over the last 15 years, Peter Krajsa and Matthew Brown have been helping provide sustainable solutions to local communities, contractors, and homeowners. Today, they are Co-Chairs and Founders of NEIF and are answering the question, “How do we help make energy efficiency truly affordable for the home or business owner?”
NEIF is a lender of advanced capital for residential homes and commercial businesses across the United States, lending residentially in 23 states and supporting about 1000 local contractors. These loans are focused towards resilient, efficient, healthy, and comfortable improvements and aim to combat the climate crisis by enabling individuals to move towards sustainable resources and utilities. In Peter and Matthew’s words, the biggest action they’ve taken was to organize NEIF as not just a compliant regulated lender, but also as a certified Benefit Corporation (B Corporation) to provide a "holistic experience to both [the] customers and [the] community.”
While NEIF lends to both homeowners and small businesses, their primary focus is loaning to contractors that specialize in energy efficiency. When residents need to install new sustainable utilities, they contact a contractor to install it. NEIF's job is to support those contractors and help run incentives alongside local utilities or government. One such initiative that they are starting is in conjunction with LA County and focused on providing loans to multi-family housing. It is programs like these that help low income families engage in sustainable utilities and help make sustainable solutions available to not just those in affluent communities.
NEIF is currently offering their fifth crowdfunding opportunity on the Raise Green Marketplace. In their first four offerings, NEIF was met with great investor enthusiasm, raising over $400,000. The public recognizes the immediate need to transform existing infrastructure and make it more sustainable, as aging infrastructure is responsible for 29% of all United States CO2E (“Decarbonizing US Buildings,” Center for Climate and Energy Solutions).
NEIF serves four customer types
- Homeowners — Point of purchase financing and insurance for qualifying energy and resiliency improvements.
- Businesses — Financing for commercial, industrial and municipal energy and resiliency upgrades.
- Contractors — Bridge financing for HVAC, roofing, lighting and other contractors.
- Governments, Utilities, Manufacturers, Distributors, and Programs — Administration and delivery of program and contractor network-driven efficiency and resiliency lending.
NEIF provides essential products and services
- Lending to consumer and commercial customers — Loan origination and servicing for efficient HVAC, windows, roofs, lighting, battery storage and other efficiency, and resilience upgrades.
- Bridge financing for contractors — Advance funding programs to cover contractor short-term capital needs with rebate advance payments, working capital, and related funding.
- Program administration services — Portal technology, loan servicing, and origination for governments, utility, and other sponsors and their contractor networks.
- Property Insurance based on resilience — Insurance services for homeowners, which provide reduced premiums after resiliency upgrades such as roofs that are fortified against hurricane-force winds.
NEIF brings its products to market through four channels
- Manufacturers, Distributors and Industry Associations — Partnering with industry leaders such as Energy Kinetics, Rheem distributors, ATAS Roofing, Pearl Certification, BPI, Building Performance Association, and CEMA.
- Direct to Contractor — Providing a network of qualified energy and resiliency contractors vetted for financial and ethical stability, with tools and training to integrate fair financing.
- Government Efficiency and Resilience Programs — Developing and managing programs for government agencies such as Efficiency Maine, Pennsylvania Treasury, Philadelphia Energy Authority, and US Department of Energy.
- Utilities and Insurance Companies — Administering targeted financing programs for utilities such as Eversource, AEP Ohio, Xcel Energy, etc. and resilience-related programs for insurance companies.
NEIF is transforming the market of energy efficiency loans for both commercial and residential infrastructure, making the process more accessible for both building owners and the contractors responsible for efficiency improvements. The nation’s first B Corporation for Energy Efficiency Lending, NEIF finances energy efficiency improvements that reduce energy usage and the carbon footprint. By making financing more affordable for homeowners and businesses of all sizes and income levels, with additional focus on low and moderate income borrowers, NEIF is championing the transition to greener, less impactful infrastructure. With an added focus on high-impact weather regions, both those at risk of high-energy demands in extreme heat and severe weather events, NEIF focuses on building resilience across existing infrastructure. And unlike other lenders that pass the costs of financing to contractors, NEIF accelerates contractor growth through transparent, fixed-rate installment financing with no cost to the contractor and provides employee development with training, products, and programs.
NEIF’s business model has proven resilient throughout Covid-19, with impactful industry partnerships and both recurring and transactional revenue streams driving growth. Included in this is a diversity of efficiency projects, as NEIF’s loans can scale to most needs; 64% of NEIF’s loans have been for efficient heating, cooling and related improvements and 36% have been for insulation and other energy and resiliency measures (2020 data). However, these loans are more than just diverse and equitable. A typical residential project reduces energy use by 5-10% and commercial energy use by 15% or more (“Why Energy Efficiency Upgrades,” U.S. Department of Energy).
As a leader in energy efficiency financing, social and environmental equity, and infrastructure transformation, NEIF could be poised to spearhead major growth in residential and commercial energy loans.
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