IFF Receives $1 Million Grant to Reduce Energy Use by Area Nonprofits

Jul 11, 2011, 16:52 ET from IFF

Funds Will Leverage a Total of $10 Million in Financing for Retrofit Projects

CHICAGO, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Energy Impact Illinois, the alliance that provides people and businesses with smart, simple resources that make it easy to save energy and money, has awarded IFF, the nonprofit lender and real estate consultant, a $1 million grant to identify, finance, and manage energy efficiency improvements to nonprofit facilities in the Chicago region. The grant is part of funds awarded to Energy Impact Illinois by the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative to spur energy efficiency upgrades and create a long-term energy efficiency market in the greater Chicago region, and Rockford.

"This is a critical step in providing support for nonprofit groups to access the funds necessary to develop energy efficient solutions that improve building performance," said Randy Blankenhorn, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the lead agency implementing the Energy Impact Illinois effort. "Our goal is to continue working with programs that help make access to energy efficient actions a priority in the Chicago area."

IFF will use the grant to fund a $1 million loan loss reserve program that will leverage at least $10 million in additional capital for a revolving loan fund. IFF will make loans to nonprofits for (1) retrofit projects that reduce current energy use by 25 percent or more and (2) major renovations that improve energy performance by at least 15 percent above existing building code requirements. IFF also will launch a new service to "bundle" smaller nonprofit facilities in order for them to take advantage of the benefits of energy performance contracting—using the projected savings from energy efficiency improvements to help finance and pay for the cost of making those improvements.

"The typical charter school, health clinic, or child care center does not have a large enough building area to tap into the powerful benefits of energy performance contracting. This grant will allow us to overcome that problem. We can work with nonprofits to identify and assemble a portfolio of smaller projects, document the energy savings, underwrite the improvements, and manage the projects through implementation," said Joe Neri, IFF CEO. "Not only will we reduce energy use, we will reduce utility expenses and overhead—freeing up resources that nonprofits can use to provide more and better services to their clients."

In addition to this effort, IFF offers a range of sustainable solutions to nonprofits throughout its Midwest region, including all of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. To learn more about how IFF helps nonprofits make smart choices and informed investments related to energy efficiency, resource conservation, and healthy indoor environments, visit www.iff.org/sustainable-solutions.

For more information about Energy Impact Illinois, visit www.energyimpactillinois.org. For more information about CMAP, visit www.cmap.illinois.gov.

About IFF:

IFF is a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant dedicated to strengthening nonprofits and the communities they serve. It helps nonprofits plan, finance, and build facilities that are critical to their mission and success. Founded in 1988, IFF has total assets of $200 million and serves nonprofits working with low-income communities and special needs populations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. To learn more about IFF, visit www.iff.org.