While more customers could be taking advantage of energy efficiency loans, nearly all those who do repay them on time—suggesting the return on investment from energy improvements is a win-win for both lenders and borrowers.
These findings are in a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) called, “What Have We Learned from Energy Efficiency Financing?” Find a PDF of the report on the new MNEnergySmart.com.
The ACEEE says the United States could cost-effectively realize a 20-30% reduction in energy consumption in the next 10-15 years, lowering energy bills for consumers by $78 billion a year! One group with great potential to reap these savings is the commercial and residential building sector which consumes about 74% of the electricity used in the United States.
Their review of 24 energy-efficiency loan programs found extremely low default rates of 0-3%, even during the recent economic downturn. Projects financed through the programs reduced annual energy costs by an average of 12–17%.
“Many businesses we work with in Minnesota see even higher savings,” remarked Jill Curran, Energy Smart Program Director. “Some upgrades to more efficient lighting, for example, can save as much as 50% in energy costs.”
The ACEEE’s research also revealed that more is more: When more consumers participate in efforts to reduce energy consumption, those energy savings can be delivered more cost-efficiently.
“Energy efficiency loans are proving to be a winning investment in a time of economic uncertainty. Based on these findings, now is the time to scale-up to serve many more homeowners and businesses,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel.
Among the report’s other recommendations:
• Use facility-wide energy audits to inform consumers of the maximum energy savings opportunities they may realize by participating
• Combine loans with available utility incentives and rebates for greater savings
Minnesota Energy Smart provides these services and more to help your business develop and finance a plan for the most cost-efficient, energy-effective combination of improvements suited to your business needs.
• Consult our Utility Rebate Search Tool here.
• Review new funding opportunities here.
• Learn about Upgrade Investment Analysis here.