We developed this project in response to a growing local-level demand for information and guidance on accessing local, state, and federal energy financing programs. Knowledge regarding these programs is currently scattered across independent websites and agencies, making it difficult for a lay user to identify available options for funding energy efficiency efforts. We collaborated with The Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor non-profit, to develop an information-based tool that would provide tailored recommendations to small businesses and organizations in need of financing to meet their energy efficiency aspirations. The tool was developed for use by The Ecology Center along with an implementation plan to strengthen their outreach to local stakeholders and assist their efforts in reducing Michigan’s energy consumption.
We researched and analyzed existing clean energy and energy efficiency policies and financing opportunities available from local, state, federal, and utility entities for institutions in the educational, medical, religious, and multi-family housing sectors. The design and content of the tool and its accompanying educational materials was influenced by a series of social surveys and interviews conducted with local business and non-profit representatives. The surveys and interviews revealed the level of existing institutional knowledge on energy efficiency, local barriers to accessing financing and implementing projects, and the motivations and concerns of individuals regarding efficiency upgrades.
The resulting information tool will help fulfill the project’s goal of improving accessibility to energy efficiency financing for qualified stakeholders in Washtenaw and Oakland Counties.