Clean Energy Financing for Homeowners
Clean Foundation’s Clean Energy Financing works with municipal partners across Nova Scotia to provide homeowners with low interest financing. Homeowners are given impartial advice that helps them improve their home’s energy performance and how to save money, while making their home a more comfortable place to live.
Clean Foundation (Clean) believes that the right to safe, affordable, accessible and energy efficient housing is a fundamental one, but the resources necessary to upgrade a home’s energy performance are not available to everyone. Clean’s research found that there are turn-key programs at no cost for low-income Nova Scotians and rebate programs for those that can afford to undertake independent energy efficiency renovations. Yet, there was no mechanism in Nova Scotia that allowed moderate income households, who do not have access to upfront capital, to engage in energy efficiency retrofits.
A lot of energy is lost through a gap like that.
Fortunately, Clean has the right tool for that and the right experience for the job. Clean has been designing and delivering energy efficiency programs in Nova Scotia for the past thirty-five years, continually learning and improving their array of services. They strive to recognize barriers that prevent Nova Scotians from accessing the initiatives and services that can help alleviate energy poverty and increase energy security. Once they had identified the energy renovation opportunity gap, Clean set about creating Clean Energy Financing (CEF) to fill it and the program they came up with is cost effective, climate friendly and cosy.
By offering low interest financing and ensuring that upgrades pay for themselves in ongoing energy savings, Clean and their municipal partners created a pathway for more homeowners to take climate action. CEF combines available provincial and federal energy efficiency rebates with access to financing through a participant’s home municipality. Clean ensures that energy upgrade plans meet a 1:1 debt-to-savings ratio, providing participants financial assurance that they will be saving money from the day they begin their project.
All applicable rebates and incentives are used to pay down financing, which increases the financial viability of energy projects. Financing is attached to a property, rather than the homeowner. This ensures that the financial responsibility for the upgrade remains with the property owner. Projects can vary in size, from $10,000 to in excess of $25,000. Clean’s in-house energy advisors and technical analysts work with homeowners to create an upgrade pathway that suits the home and the individual.
CEF currently exists in eleven municipalities across Nova Scotia and is growing every year. Each municipality chooses the level of participation and lending that they are comfortable with. Clean takes that municipal guidance and facilitates all recruitment, home assessments, technical oversight, support with contractor oversight and financial management. Over the course of their multi-year CEF project, Clean has seen increasing municipal targets as the program grows. They hope to guide over four hundred homes through the process of financing deep energy retrofits within their current contracts.
CEF currently has the capacity to finance upward of $6,000,000 in private home upgrades that would not otherwise be possible. It’s a project that ensures that Nova Scotians have equitable access to deep energy retrofits and a program that has a place in the clean economy.