The Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) program targeted energy and greenhouse gas reductions by helping participating businesses reduce their utility expenditures, educating employees of those businesses on how to save energy at home, and providing individual assistance to employees to help complete energy-saving home improvements.
Initially launched in Arkansas by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative, HEAL was replicated in four states across the country; Clean Energy Coalition was selected as the HEAL replication partner in Michigan. DTE Energy funded HEAL as a pilot energy optimization program with area employers including the City of Ann Arbor and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, among others, to evaluate the program’s effectiveness at driving energy efficiency upgrades. Clean Energy Coalition selected two area contractors, Blanket Insulation and Meadowlark Energy, to conduct comprehensive energy audits for the participating employees and perform the energy efficiency retrofits for those who choose to complete them.
HEAL operated in one of two ways: the classic model focused first on energy retrofits to commercial facilities with the intention of using cost savings from these projects to provide financing to employees for home retrofits. The second model brought in third-party financing where facility retrofits or an internal loan fund were not feasible. Through a partnership between the employer and a financial institution, loans were offered to employees at or below market interest rates. Both models used payroll deductions for employee loan repayment, similar to other employee benefits.