One thing this past year has taught us is that the spaces we exist in must...» Read More
Invest in Your Building, Invest in the Community
Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy creates benefits that include energy savings, improved occupant health and safety, and improved health of the community due to decreased greenhouse gas emissions. These benefits have led to an increase in energy financing options for commercial entities. However, while commercial entities have several avenues to make financing these projects more affordable, these types of projects are typically still out of reach for nonprofits even with financing. Partnered with the fact that nonprofits often occupy older buildings with more weatherization issues affecting comfortability and increasing their electric bill, nonprofits have an increased need for these upgrades. As a way to thank nonprofits for their continuous and selfless investment in their communities and to lessen their energy burden, Sustainable Energy Fund has created a Social Impact Loan Program.
About the Program
The Social Impact Loan Program is an adaptation of the One-for-One Business Model developed by Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes, in 2006. Sustainable Energy Fund will invest 10% of the interest paid on every loan through this program in a Social Impact Fund. All funds raised will go towards financing weatherization services for nonprofits. Weatherization services will include:
- Installing insulation
- Reducing air infiltration and pressure imbalances
- Sealing and repairing ducts
- Swapping incandescent and CFL light bulbs for LEDs
Once the fund grows, we’ll start soliciting grant applications for these services on a regular basis. Nonprofits will be able to focus on what matters, their mission, in a safe and comfortable building that is no longer leaking like a sieve.
Nonprofits are the backbone of our communities. They work tirelessly to support worthy causes and support those in need, fight for basic human rights, encourage acts of kindness from the rest of the community, and so much more. However, it seems that they are often so busy using their resources to achieve their mission that their own needs fall by the wayside. In 2018, Sustainable Energy Fund, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, hosted a Nonprofit Energy Makeover Contest, conducting more than 40 energy audits for other Pennsylvania nonprofits. The common thread throughout these energy audits was a need for weatherization services which would increase comfortability and overall building performance. Upon executing the makeovers, we found there were no local contractors who specialized in commercial weatherization. Further discussion with nonprofits led us to discover that they were hesitant about paying for such services, despite the fact that they could strongly benefit in various capacities.
Through the Nonprofit Energy Makeover Contest, we at SEF were able to see the benefits weatherization upgrades can have for nonprofits. For the program, SEF chose two Pennsylvania nonprofits that presented the greatest potential for impact – New Bethany Ministries and Lehigh County Humane Society.
New Bethany Ministries is a non-profit organization providing critical services to homeless and low-income clients, including a Meal Center, Hospitality Center, Food Pantry, transitional housing programs, and various related services. Numerous opportunities for energy conservation were present in their 120-year-old building, which SEF identified and worked with members of the community to address. Weatherization issues that were addressed included sealing leaks around windows and doors, vents, and even window AC units.
Lehigh County Humane Society, located in Allentown, PA, serves to connect homeless pets with new owners, serving as a transitional housing for animals, offers low-cost spay and neuter services, has a vaccination clinic, and provides education. Insulation and weather sealing was added in various locations in their main building and offices to reduce energy losses.
Additionally, SEF initiated an energy savings effort for the Wayne County Historical Society. Providing a free energy audit that highlighted the opportunities for savings. With the help of some community groups, WCHS was able to convert over to LED lighting and weatherize their windows and doors, reducing their energy consumption and improve the comfort level in the building.
In all three of these scenarios, upgrades improved the comfort of the space while lowering the energy spend of these nonprofits, allowing them to give more to their community through their services. The contributions of our Social Impact Fund will enable SEF to make this a reality for more area nonprofits and allows our customers direct involvement in creating this positive impact on their community and the environment.
Nonprofits do so much for our communities. Now it is time to give back. By financing your energy project with SEF through this new loan program, you can feel good knowing your investment impacts not only your employees and your bottom line, but your community and the nonprofits who serve them.
When you look at your lower energy bill, you’ll know you’ve helped a nonprofit do the same, affording the nonprofit the opportunity to invest their money where it counts – their mission! To learn more about this program, click the button below.