Creating A Clean Energy Ecosystem

Bank VSECU (Vermont State Employees Credit Union)
Client VGreen for Vermont Home Owners Going Energy Efficient
Location Vermont, USA

VSECU provides affordable access to funding that supports energy efficient homes, green transportation and local renewable energy sources

People living in Vermont spend an estimated $800 million on heat annually, making heating costs a major financial burden and energy efficiency a priority for Vermonters. Energy efficiency is also a priority for the state of Vermont, which has a goal to meet 90 percent of Vermont’s energy needs through renewable energy and increased efficiency by 2050.

Even with these statewide energy goals and the burden of high energy costs, VSECU learned that only 20 percent of all home energy audits performed, converted to actual home improvements. Vermont homeowners did not have the resources to pay upfront for the upgrades recommended as part of the energy audit.

These factors inspired VSECU to develop VGreen, a suite of flexible loans designed to enable energy savings that benefit members and communities, while safeguarding Vermont’s environmental legacy. VGreen provides low-cost financing for qualifying projects or purchases that improve energy efficiency of a member’s home or for their transportation. VGreen loans are structured to make investments in efficiency cash flow neutral by offering favorable terms that often allow borrowers to cover their loan payment using the funds saved through their energy improvements.

That was the case for Deane and Linda Dudley, who used VGreen to finance the installation of a solar photovoltaic array that allows them to generate all of their own electricity. Because of VGreen’s low interest rate, the Dudleys are able to make their loan payments with funds that were historically put toward their electric bill. According to Deane, the warranty for the solar system is 25 years. After their payment schedule ends in 12 years, they will generate all (or close to all) of their own electricity. ‘I should never have to pay [the electric company] again,’ said Deane, ‘the house is almost net zero.’

Recognising that creative financing can incentivise consumers’ investment in clean energy, the state of Vermont has looked to partner with VSECU for multiple energy efficiency initiatives through state-funded grants that have resulted in more than $400,000 in interest savings for VSECU members. Additionally, the Heat Saver Loan program, which applies state funds to reduce rates for financing of thermal energy efficiency purchases and projects, has leveraged a six to one ratio of private to public funds, making it a great investment of public dollars.

Overall, VGreen has enabled more than 1,800 loans totaling over $30 million. With rates up to five percent less than the standard personal loan rate, VSECU is empowering more Vermonters to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, aiding the state in meeting its energy efficiency goals.