Bloomington, IN – CDFI Friendly Bloomington (CFB) has joined Colorado-based Clean Energy Credit Union (CECU) and the City of Bloomington to help the local Bloomington community through an energy efficiency lending program. The Bloomington Green Home Improvement Program (BGHIP) aims to help homeowners in the city of Bloomington to help finance home improvements to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
The program allows homeowners who reside within the city limits of Bloomington to access discounted financing from CECU, the City of Bloomington, while still taking advantage of federal tax credits. Those interested in the program can use their funds for solar panels; geothermal units; weatherization; and HVAC, lighting, and/or window upgrades. The BGHIP program is a companion to the Solar and Energy Efficiency Loan (SEEL) program launched earlier this year. The SEEL program aims to both reduce carbon emissions and empower Bloomington nonprofits to increase their energy efficiency by providing grants and loans to support building improvement projects. BGHIP targets the same dual goals of emissions reduction and economic resilience but focuses on homeowners.
The BGHIP program was designed to respond to high housing costs in Bloomington, economic inequality, and the rapid destruction of the planet. Bloomington has the highest average rent in the entire state and has an infamous history of environmental pollution with PCBs, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Previous national surveys have put Bloomington as one of the most economically unequal cities in the USA, and Business Insider ranked Bloomington as the most unequal city in 2011. The BGHIP program is expertly positioned to positively impact the community at the nexus of these issues while also improving the quality of life for residents.
“The City of Bloomington continues to foster initiatives that support environmental and economic goals, advancing Bloomington’s progress towards becoming a more sustainable, resilient, and thriving city,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Through this partnership with CDFI Friendly Bloomington and CECU, individuals can play an important role in climate action and also enjoy energy cost savings.”
To help in this program, CFB was able to bring CECU into the program as an outside lender interested in helping with programs such as BGHIP. CFB hopes that this program will allow more homeowners to create better living conditions, lower long-term monthly costs, and create a more equitable Bloomington.
CECU is a Colorado-based community development financial institution (CDFI) that aims to help people by focusing “solely on providing loans that help people afford clean energy products and services,” according to their website. With a national footprint, CECU has helped thousands of people finance their energy efficiency projects. They will be providing loans to interested homeowners at 0.5% below their regular interest rate for loans of $3,000 or more. CECU
“We’re excited to partner with the City of Bloomington and CDFI Friendly Bloomington to encourage and facilitate more residents’ installing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects,” says Blake Jones, Volunteer Board Chair for Clean Energy Credit Union. “In addition to the environmental benefits, we’re excited that these projects will also help Bloomington residents to lower their utility bills and save money.”
The City of Bloomington is also offering a $1,000 rebate to participating households with an income under $100,000. The rebate will incentivize more efficiency upgrades while focusing public resources on building housing equity in lower and middle-income households.
To apply, homeowners simply fill out an intake form with the City of Bloomington to verify that applicants are eligible for the program. Applicants apply with CECU for a discounted loan to finance their improvements. Once the designated home upgrades and improvements are complete, income-eligible applicants can also apply for a $1,000 rebate from the City of Bloomington to further offset the costs. Finally, all applicants can still take advantage of applicable federal tax credits. To learn more about the program, please visit the BGHIP site, reach out to CDFI Friendly Bloomington through the ‘Contact’ tab above, or attend one of our scheduled webinars. An informational webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 @ 5:30 pm – the registration/link can be found here.