Oakland SAVES Initiative Invests $5 Million of ARP Funds to Reduce Energy Costs for Income-Qualified and Other Households

Post Date:11/20/2023 12:31 PM
  • Michigan Saves, the country’s first nonprofit green bank, will administer a grant program called Oakland SAVES on behalf of Oakland County to improve the energy efficiency of income-qualified and other homes.
  • The $5 million program will have two tiers of grants: $4 million in total grants for income-qualified households and $1 million in total grants for any household.
  • Some of the environmentally sustainable upgrades that are eligible for the grants include insulation, weatherstripping, ENERGY STAR HVAC, doors, and windows.

Pontiac, Mich. – Oakland County will collaborate with Michigan Saves, the first nonprofit green bank in the United States, to make at least 1,000 Oakland County homes more energy efficient, reducing energy costs for working families.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners, working with County Executive Dave Coulter’s administration and Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Quetell, designated $5 million of the county’s American Recovery Plan (ARP) funds for the Oakland SAVES (Simple Actions for Valuable Energy Savings) grant program, administered by Michigan Saves, to help make environmentally sustainable improvements to income-qualified and other households.

“Helping our residents upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes will not only enable them to save money on their utility bills but will also be beneficial for the environment,” Coulter said. “Less energy usage means a reduction in carbon emissions and that translates into a cleaner, more sustainable environment for all of us.”

The $5 million Oakland SAVES program will have two tiers of grants. The first will utilize $4 million for grants of up to $5,000 for income-qualified households. The second will use the remaining $1 million to pay up to 20 percent of a sustainable home improvement, capping out at $3,000, for any Oakland County household.

Tier one will serve residents who earn too much to qualify for free services from the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and most utility income-qualified programs, but struggle to qualify for traditional financing. These homeowners exist within every community and are overlooked when it comes to energy assistance programs. All too often, these homeowners are making ends meet but are just one emergency expense away from financial difficulty.

“Our partnership with Michigan Saves will lower the annual energy costs for Oakland County working families, and help us achieve our county’s climate action goals,” Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman David T. Woodward. “Together, we will help more than 1,000 households save money, support local jobs, and build a better and greener county for all of us.”

Some of the environmentally sustainable upgrades that are eligible for the Oakland SAVES grants include attic insulation, air sealing, basement wall or crawlspace insulation, door weatherstripping, duct insulation, floor insulation, wall insulation, ENERGY STAR doors, ENERGY STAR windows, ENERGY STAR water heaters, ENERGY STAR air conditioners, ENERGY STAR furnaces, and ENERGY STAR thermostats. Program participants may also make building code or health and safety improvements associated with installing energy-efficient upgrades.

“Utility burden, especially energy, is one of those household costs that can be easily reduced with simple energy efficiency upgrades,” Quetell said. “By weatherizing and enhancing existing homes, residents will have a more comfortable and healthy home environment. This program will not only improve the quality of life for our residents but also work towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions from our residential energy use.”

The Oakland SAVES program will be available until Dec. 31, 2025, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. For more information or to apply for a grant, go to www.MichiganSaves.org or call 517-484-6474

“We are honored to partner with Oakland County, and we commend them for taking steps to help residents address the impact of climate change through more sustainable home energy solutions,” said Todd Parker, vice president of Michigan Saves. “Offering grants to income-qualified households is a step forward in ensuring all Michiganders benefit from clean energy and climate-resilient solutions that support healthy and thriving communities.”

Sustainability Accomplishments by Oakland County

  • Oakland County was a key participant in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 electric vehicle charging infrastructure planning, tool kit design, and community engagement funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), collaborating with Wayne and Macomb counties.
  • The county was the recipient of a $1 million Michigan Enhancement Grant to support electric vehicle infrastructure on county-owned properties which will result in approximately 20 charging ports throughout Oakland County’s government campus and Oakland County Parks.
  •  The Oakland County Office of Sustainability launched a monthly inter-county sustainability meeting with Washtenaw, Ingham, and Macomb counties.
  • Oakland County Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Quetell serves on the SEMCOG Healthy Climate Task Force.Sustainability Office staff have participated in a variety of mobility and electrification events and conversations throughout the region including the Oakland County Economic Outlook Roundtable, the Michigan Association of Counties 2022 Conference, The 2022 North American International Auto Show EV Panel, the Monroe County Mobility Conversation EV Panel, and the SEMCOG EV Ride Event.

About Michigan Saves

Michigan Saves, the nation’s first nonprofit green bank, is dedicated to making clean energy improvements easier for all Michigan consumers. Through affordable financing and other incentives, Michigan Saves connects borrowers to a network of skilled contractors for energy efficiency, geothermal and solar installation projects. Michigan Saves believes an equitable transition to a carbon-free Michigan where everyone has access to the benefits of clean energy and climate-resilient solutions is possible. Through consistent outreach, quality workmanship and affordable funding, Michigan Saves promotes accessible, equitable and just investments in energy efficiency and clean energy to support healthy and thriving communities. For more information, visit www.MichiganSaves.org and follow us on Facebook @michigansaves, Twitter @MichiganSaves and LinkedIn @michigan-saves.