Energy savings for Resident Owned Communities is an important topic that all community leaders can benefit from. In this episode, we’re joined by ROC USA Capital’s Kevin Porter. Kevin is passionate about energy efficiency and serves on the Board of Directors for Clean Energy NH. In this conversation, Kevin tells about the many ways ROCs can invest in clean energy – everything from solar and battery storage to lightbulb replacement and community power. He even offers some tips for homeowners to help cut costs on their own energy bills!
Episode: Energy Efficiency for ROCs with Kevin Porter of ROC USA Capital
0:24 Guest introduction
Paul and Mike are joined today by ROC USA Capital’s Loan Officer, Kevin Porter. If your resident-owned community is a ROC USA borrower, there’s a good chance Kevin has visited your community. When he isn’t helping generate loans, Kevin is passionate about energy efficiency and serves on the Board of Directors at Clean Energy New Hampshire. He has over 15 years of real estate finance experience and worked for two community development financial institutions before joining ROC USA in 2015.
1:40 Overview of Kevin’s role at ROC USA
As a loan officer, Kevin works largely with newly formed ROCs, providing pre-development financing which hopefully leads to acquisition and further development.
2:10 Kevin’s interest in renewable energy
Kevin has worked in housing finance for his entire career, including for a shop which did energy efficiency lending. After relocating to New Hampshire, he still held on to this clean energy passion and wanted to stay involved. He connected with Clean Energy New Hampshire, an organization which facilitates advocacy around energy efficiency.
3:30 Discussing solar power
There is currently a lot of interest in solar power for resident-owned communities, with solar projects underway in New Hampshire, New York and Maine. Several years ago, Clean Energy New Hampshire was involved in getting funding for solar and resident wonder communities. Kevin explains several factors which often make it more difficult for solar to reach resident owned communities. For Kevin, the bottom line for the benefits of solar is its affordability and reliability in comparison to traditional electricity.
7:39 Alternatives to solar power
Many ROC USA communities don’t have acres of unused land to put a solar field on. However, there are alternative energy saving methods everyone can take advantage of. First is maintaining efficient insulation and lighting within the home. ROC USA has collaborated with weatherization programs in several states to make routine checks more timely and efficient. He then tips how people can come in contact with these opportunities. He is a huge advocate for LED lighting
10:50 Practical approaches for energy efficiency
Many people assume the first place to start in their home is by replacing windows, but Kevin warns this isn’t the best bang for your buck. Instead, start by inspecting lighting, insulation, and water leaks. Kevin also discusses the significant energy reduction of LED light strips, which he is a huge advocate for.
14:00 Battery storage
Though it’s a new issue, there is lots of innovation happening in terms of new methods of battery storage. With solar being adopted more, the need for storage is picking up. These large batteries transport energy to and from the grid as needed, and their storage will be a much more cost-efficient way of supplying that energy.
17:42 Resources for ROCs and community choice aggregation
Every state has resources available for all resident-owned communities looking to become more energy efficient. Kevin also explains community choice aggregation, which allows a large group of buyers to buy electricity in bulk and choose their supplier. In this case, the long-term cost is also reduced for the consumers because the energy is purchased in large quantities.
20:25 Kevin’s affinity for visiting and building relationships with ROCs
In the last month, Kevin has visited communities in three states, something he has greatly missed during the pandemic. As the conversation draws to a close, he speaks of the adoration in seeing communities come together and the rewards of his position.
23:07 Closing words and Kevin’s advice
Before starting as an energy efficiency lender, Kevin didn’t know much about the business. Though it takes money up front, he was blown away by the money-saving options available. He urges listeners, whether they be individual homeowners or ROC leaders, to take the first step and see what’s possible. Every dollar saved on energy counts.
Learn more about battery storage here.
Find energy efficiency incentives in your state here.
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