Energy Efficiency: A Step Closer to Financial Sustainability for Michigan Nonprofits
Michigan has 49,567 active nonprofits despite the fact the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) has documented that the number of Michigan nonprofits declined by 13% from 2011 to 2014 due to the Great Recession. This decrease in number should then leave no one surprised that one of the primary concerns for nonprofits is financial sustainability. Of the more than 5,000 nonprofits surveyed nationally, 41% cited that achieving long-term financial stability is one the greatest challenges they face.
Building energy efficiency upgrades have the ability to curb utility and operating costs and increase the comfort of employees and clients. However, energy efficiency programs are not always designed to be as accessible to nonprofits. This creates an unfortunate reality where nonprofits—organizations that are inherently focused on mission-critical activities—often miss opportunities to decrease operating costs and use a larger share of their budget on providing much-needed, direct services.
This paper, written for the Michigan nonprofit community, describes the robust nonprofit sector in Michigan and makes the case that there is a need for increased energy efficiency programs and funding for a clean energy economy. It also serves as a primer to understand the Michigan energy policy landscape and how energy efficiency projects can be funded. The first section describes Michigan’s nonprofit sector; the second describes the results from a survey, interviews, and energy use analysis completed by Elevate Energy and Michigan Energy Options; the third describes Michigan’s energy policy and programs; and the fourth describes Michigan’s use of energy efficiency financing. The last section makes recommendations that will promote energy efficiency of the buildings that nonprofits occupy.
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