NOLA Businesses Get Wise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Orleans, LA (October 16, 2012) -- As part of the continuing effort to promote energy efficiency, the City of New Orleans announced today that the NOLA Wise initiative will expand to include commercial services and loan program designed to help local businesses make energy-saving improvements. NOLA Wise, a partnership between the City, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program and Global Green USA, helps individuals make their property more comfortable and efficient through services such as a professional and thorough energy assessment, quality work from vetted contractors and access to incentives and loans to pay for the retrofit.

"The NOLA Wise program is a tremendous resource for individuals who want to make environmentally friendly decisions," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We're excited to now make this valuable resource available to our local business owners so that they can make the wise investment in saving energy."

Fidelity of New Orleans will offer the commercial loan product, which builds on the homeowner lending products currently available to New Orleans residents through the NOLA Wise program. Together, these programs will present a total energy investment opportunity of $15 million for the community.

"Since its founding in 1908, Fidelity has worked tirelessly to make our community a better place by supporting outstanding community initiatives like the NOLA Wise commercial loan," said Alton McRee, president and CEO of Fidelity. "We are proud to be partnering with the City, Global Green and SEEA to begin offering NOLA Wise commercial loans, which will enable our commercial customers to begin making commercial energy efficient improvements for the good of our community."

The NOLA Wise Program is managed by Global Green USA, a nonprofit environmental organization.

"We were thrilled to partner with Fidelity on another outstanding energy efficiency loan program,” said Global Green USA's New Orleans Director Beth Galante. "Local business owners in New Orleans deserve to have access to affordable, high quality energy upgrades to lower their utility costs and strengthen their bottom line and this low interest rate program now gives them the power to make that investment."

As part of Fidelity and SEEA's partnership with NOLA Wise, SEEA has invested $300,000 to serve a first-line loan loss reserve, guaranteed up to 90 percent in the chance of default, against lending to commercial properties seeking to retrofit their buildings in New Orleans. Now New Orleans building owners seeking to make their property more energy-efficient will be able to work with NOLA Wise and Fidelity to secure lending for their projects. The NOLA Wise commercial loans will be available at Fidelity on a first-come, first-served basis to commercial property owners within the NOLA Wise program.

"SEEA is ecstatic about this partnership," said SEEA President Michael Mills. "Together, these loans for residential homeowners and businesses will help remove the most common barrier to energy efficiency upgrades, the upfront cost, allowing participants to save both money and energy. Making it easier for people to invest in their homes and business is ultimately good for everyone because it strengthens the family budget, a business' bottom line and ensures a more vibrant economy for the City of New Orleans."

NOLA Wise helps property owners navigate the home improvement process from start to finish. After completing an initial property assessment to determine how energy efficiency could be improved, property owners are provided with an inventory of suggested improvements. These might include new insulation, tuning up the heating and cooling systems, improving lighting, and sealing windows and doors to reduce air leaks. If needed, the program also provides help in obtaining incentives and loans to make the changes. NOLA Wise also provides specially trained and certified contractors to do the improvements. The program monitors their work to ensure quality.

To learn more about the NOLA Wise program, please visit nolawise.org or call 504-523-WISE.