Financing 2017-08-24T05:55:11-04:00

3E Thermal provides cash incentives towards more energy-efficient options on your projects. But you may need more financial assistance than 3E can provide by itself. Below are some attractive financing options that can help.

Business Energy Loan Program

A loan program offered by Efficiency Vermont and VSECU is aimed at making fast, simple financing available to apartment building owners. The Business Energy Loan Program is open to any type of business, including sole proprietors. Up to $35,000 can be borrowed, with a minimum loan amount of $3,500. All of an energy efficiency project’s costs can be financed.

Efficiency Vermont and VSECU have designed the program to be as low-cost and hassle-free as possible:

  • No business financial statements are required
  • No collateral necessary
  • No closing costs
  • Application fee maximum of $25
  • One-page application form

If you have a larger energy efficiency project in mind, you may be able to combine this funding with other financing. For example, money from the Business Energy Loan may be used to cover the collateral requirement of a larger loan. Click here to download an information sheet. For more information or to apply, visit the Efficiency Vermont website or contact Zoe Erdman at Efficiency Vermont by calling toll free 888-921-5990 or email [email protected].

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program

USDA-Logo-Main-250pxOwners of for-profit apartment buildings located in rural areas can apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for loan guarantees and grant funding. This financing assistance can be used to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. The funding is available through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Funds may be used for purchase, installation, and construction of renewable energy systems — including biomass, wind, and solar.

USDA funds can also be used to buy and install energy efficiency upgrades, including:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Doors and windows

Through its Rural Energy for America Program, USDA will guarantee loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs. Grants are available for up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Renewable energy system grants have a $2,500 minimum amount and a $500,000 maximum. Energy efficiency grants have a $1,500 minimum and a $250,000 maximum. Loan guarantees have a loan minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $25 million. Rates and terms are negotiated with the lender and are subject to USDA approval. The maximum term is 30 years for real estate and 15 years for equipment. Capital loans have a maximum term of seven years.

The program is open to for-profit businesses that own apartment buildings. Non-profit organizations are not eligible, but non-profits can form for-profit entities to be the applicant. More information about the program is available in this fact sheet. Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program are accepted year round at the local USDA office. In Vermont, the office is located at:

87 State Street, Suite 324
P O Box 249
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 828-6000 or (802) 828-6080
(802) 828-6018 Fax

Commons Energy

CommonsEnergyLogoRGBCommons Energy helps improve the comfort, safety and efficiency of public-purpose buildings by lowering overhead costs and creating positive cash flow. Multi-family affordable housing owners can free up capital for necessary upgrades, provide residents with greater comfort, safety and reliability, and control utility costs now and mitigate future risk of rising fuel costs.

Commons Energy offers 4% financing for terms up to 15 years on energy efficiency projects that it is involved in. Minimum and maximum loan amounts are flexible. Apartment building owners will need to complete an application for financing and provide a financial statement. To qualify, apartment buildings should have total utility costs, including water, of at least $50,000 a year.

Commons Energy offers technical assistance, installation of building energy improvements, financing, and energy performance contracting. Commons Energy provides a guarantee that projects will achieve a certain amount of energy savings. For more information, contact Brian Pine at 802-540-7829 or email [email protected]. Click here for an information sheet.

Clean Energy Development Fund

The purpose of the fund is to increase the development and deployment in Vermont of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable renewable energy resources. Advanced wood heating is now a focus of the CEDF. The funding program that is available to apartment building owners is the Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which provides incentives for qualifying advanced wood pellet boilers and solar hot water systems.

The program is administered by the Renewable Energy Resource Center. Incentive applications and complete program information can also be obtained at The RERC can also be reached at 1-877-888-7372.

Energy Savings Can Pay Your Loan Costs

Savings generated by energy efficiency improvements are usually large enough to cover the monthly cost of a loan to finance the upgrades. In this video, Mark Kelley of Efficiency Vermont explains how it works.

Here’s an example of how energy savings can pay loan costs:

An apartment building costs $16,500 per year for heat and hot water. The owner decides to take out a loan to finance the energy efficiency improvements recommended by 3E Thermal.

Loan Amount: $30,000
Loan Term: 60 months
Interest rate per year: 4.25%
Monthly Loan Payment: $555.89

The energy efficiency project results in an energy savings of 58% and a yearly cost savings of $8,000 or $666 per month. The building owner is able to use the money from the energy savings to pay for the loan. After the loan is paid off, the energy efficiency improvements are still working to improve the building’s profitability.