Grant to Reduce Energy Use in Nonprofit Chicago Buildings

August 21, 2011

A charity real estate organization has been granted $1 million to make other charitable organization’s buildings more energy efficient.

IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant, has received a $1 million grant from Energy Impact Illinois, an alliance that provides people and businesses with simple resources that make it easy to save energy and money.

ChicagoThe grant will be used to identify, finance and manage energy-efficiency improvements to nonprofit facilities in the Chicago region.

The money comes from funds awarded to Energy Impact Illinois by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, which aims to create a long-term, energy-efficiency market in the greater Chicago area 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 money 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:

*Retrofit projects that reduce current energy use by 25 percent or more.

*Major renovations that improve energy performance by at least 15 percent above existing building code requirements.

IFF is also launching a new service that will bundle smaller nonprofit facilities so they can take advantage of the benefits of energy-performance contracting — using the projected savings from energy-efficiency improvements to help 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.”

Sounds like a great initiative all-around. For more information, visit For more information about Energy Impact Illinois, visit

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I think this is great! We should all do our part to reduce energy costs.

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