Explore what we accomplished together in 2021

Letter from the president

Mary Templeton, President and CEO of Michigan Saves

Dear Michigan Saves partners,

In my letter to you in the 2020 annual report, I spoke of the resilience we saw in the face of racial inequity and the global pandemic. That same resilience helped propel us through an incredibly successful 2021. Our lenders stepped up to provide more accessible financing and contractors were busier than ever, helping 5,736 homeowners and 122 commercial property owners experience greater comfort and efficiency.

As I try to think of a word to describe how Michigan Saves approached 2021, “hopeful” comes to mind. At the start of the year, we were all so hopeful to return to some sort of normalcy—for a vaccine that worked and the reopening of the restaurants and businesses we all love.

We were also hopeful as we thoughtfully considered how we can use the systems we’ve built over the last 11 years to help our contractors remediate lead hazards in homes, which still deeply affect many in Michigan. In the fiscal year 2021 budget, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included $2 million for a lead fund loan loss reserve. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began their search for a lead fund administrator in May 2021 and selected Michigan Saves to guide the process. We started lead fund development on October 1, 2021, and it’s slated to launch during the second quarter of 2022. We’re excited to add the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to our current programming and help residents safely remove lead from their homes.

Beyond the new lead program, we’re still growing in electrification. We believe the future is electric, and more Michiganders are hearing about electrification opportunities every day, so we created a residential electrification infographic to help assist homeowners who want to learn more about electrifying their home. This work is important to Michigan Saves and the State, as it relates to Michigan’s climate goals and state-level work to identify pathways to carbon neutrality by 2050 per the U.S. Climate Alliance. In addition to the infographic, Mac McCabe, one of our contractor account managers, worked extensively with support from the City of Ann Arbor to create an electrification badging program to make sure our authorized contractors are up to speed on all things electrification.

We’re also continuing our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts because we understand our preferred future is not possible without addressing the systems that perpetuate racism and prevent some populations from accessing benefits like the ones offered by Michigan Saves. We’ve continued to work with social change agent Yodit Mesfin Johnson, president and CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, and developed our change team purpose, ways of being, and our vision for the future. I encourage you to read them if you haven’t already.

Importantly, one of our key accomplishments in 2021 was to secure funding from the Kresge Foundation to expand access to financing in the City of Detroit for homeowners who can’t access traditional financing and for commercial property owners that need long-term affordable loans to effectively deploy electrification or solar and storage projects. This funding is expected to be available during the second quarter of 2022.

I believe our 2021 annual report is a direct reflection of our continued resilience and hopefulness as a team and an organization committed to advancing clean energy solutions for all.

On behalf of the Michigan Saves team, I thank you all for your continued support, especially during such unprecedented times.


Mary Templeton

By the numbers

Have you ever wondered how much energy and money Michigan Saves’ programs are actually saving? The 2021 numbers are in, and the results are impressive!


Residential Homes


Metric tons of greenhouse gases

Commercial Buildings


Metric tons of greenhouse gases


Kilowatt hours
Metric tons of greenhouse gases



Residential: 79% Commercial: 21%



Residential: 81% Commercial: 19%


Residential: 44% Commercial: 56%




*Indicates savings for gas and electric

Timeline & milestones


Onward & Upward

Loan volumes picked up in 2021, as we reached more than $370 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy financing for Michiganders and business owners across the Great Lakes state. We also made a commitment to ensure everyone—no exceptions—has peace of mind when it comes to the safety of their homes by launching the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund.



Clean energy resiliency through a global pandemic

We’ve surpassed $300 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy financing in Michigan’s homes and businesses since 2009. In 2020 alone, we supported more than $53 million inenergy improvements.


  • Launched a new project management portal and sophisticated residential loan application system and call center, improving program efficiency for customers, contractors, and program staff
  • Facilitated the launch of an on-bill financing program for Traverse City Light & Power residential customers, the second such program in the state
  • Celebrated ten years of financing with a Toast to Ten event
  • Enhanced residential offerings by adding lenders, expanding access to more customers and a wider geographic range
  • Grew contractor network by 88 for a new total of 839 contractors


Powering a prosperous and clean energy future for all

Jumping from $172 million in clean energy financing in 2018, Michigan Saves zoomed past $200 million in 2019 to finance more than $229 million in renewable and energy-efficiency upgrades. That’s a 33 percent year-over-year increase that went to help more families and organizations take control of their energy consumption and, in some cases, production.

The nonprofit green bank also received national recognition as a leader in clean energy as Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell helped lead the effort to create a national climate bank that built upon Michigan’s successful green bank model.


  • Provided more than $169.8 million in residential financing
  • Provided more than $59.2 million in commercial financing
  • Launched revolving loan and rebate pilot program with DTE for customers with low to moderate incomes
  • Piloted and launched the national green energy network—a system that helps clean energy financing entities reduce costs and create efficiencies in program automation and design
  • Recognized as national leader in clean energy by congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan upon introduction of the national climate bank act of 2019
  • Grew contractor network by 103 individuals—a total of 752 authorized contractors
  • Introduced first-ever commercial beer and wings competition for contractors


$172 million and counting

After hitting the $100 million mark in energy financing in 2017, we continued to see explosive growth in 2018. In fact, we grew the total amount financed by more than 72 percent to close out the year with more than $172 million. But the growth didn’t stop there.

Thanks to our efforts to attract and retain contractors, we grew our contractor network to a total of 649 authorized contractors—a 22 percent increase from 2017. As our contractor network grew, so did the number of top performers in our residential Beer and Wings competition, with 2018 marking the largest-ever winner’s circle of contractors who financed 60 or more loans during the calendar year. We also expanded our list of eligible measures to offer even more residential and commercial energy improvement options; expanded our commercial offerings to support larger projects and provide longer terms; made key operational investments to enhance the contractor section of our website; and developed a platform that will automate workflows and facilitate communication between the loan center, lenders, contractors, and Michigan Saves staff.


  • More than $36.9 million in residential loans
  • More than $14 million in commercial loans
  • Fourth annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards
  • Gained two full-time team members


$100 million and a bright future

A banner year, 2017 saw Michigan Saves soar past the $100 million mark in energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Recognizing this extraordinary growth, Michigan Saves stakeholders agreed on a sweeping new five-year strategy that would put the organization at $1 billion in green energy financing by 2023.


  • $21.4 million in residential loans
  • $10.8 million in commercial loans
  • Third annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards
  • Won inspiring efficiency impact award by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance


Stronger solar energy improvements

In 2016, Michigan Saves redoubled its efforts in the solar market. Although the organization financed its first solar project back in 2011, it wasn’t until 2016 that Michigan Saves brought on additional lenders with more favorable terms specifically for this market. As a result, in early 2017, Michigan Saves had financed a cumulative one megawatt in solar photovoltaic (PV), enough to power over 200 homes per year. Just 11 months after that, the organization had doubled its growth in the solar PV market.

New programs for greater access

Partnering with the City of Holland, Michigan Saves developed a creative financing program. This on-bill program allowed consumers to pay for energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements through utility bill payments, thereby offering longer terms (up to 15 years), simplifying payments, and expanding credit to anyone who had consistent utility bill payment history.


  • $15.3 million in residential loans
  • $8.6 million in commercial financing
  • Second annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards


The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards

Seeking to celebrate outstanding achievements in energy excellence, Michigan Saves partnered with the Office of the Governor to organize the first ever Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards. This event, now in its fourth year, recognizes pioneers in the field of energy-efficiency around the state.

Michigan Saves finances more than $50 million in energy improvements

By mid-2015, Michigan Saves’ total loan portfolio surpassed the $50 million mark.


  • $13.4 million in residential loans
  • $6.9 million in commercial loans


Incentive programs

In 2014, Michigan Saves took steps to aggressively lower interest rates for residential improvements. The organization successfully secured its lowest standard rate ever at 4.25% APR. This helped spur Michigan Saves’ best year to date in terms of loan activity. Also in this period, through partnerships with utilities, Michigan Saves introduced interest rate buydowns, whereby some commercial and residential customers could get rates as low as 0% APR.

Business Energy Financing program growth

In 2014, Michigan Saves’ commercial financing program really began to take off, serving nearly twice as many customers than in the previous two years combined—a whopping 191 percent growth.


  • $9.8 million in residential loans
  • $4.6 million in commercial financing


New executive director

Although she had been helping lead Michigan Saves in her role as program manager for BetterBuildings for Michigan for quite some time, in 2013 Mary Templeton was formally brought on as executive director, bringing her deep knowledge and experience in residential and commercial energy-efficiency strategies. The organization went from having financed just under $20 million in energy-efficiency improvements prior to her appointment to over $100 million in less than five years under her leadership.

Multifamily unit expansion

A traditionally underserved market, multifamily dwellings still make up a large share of Michigan homes, particularly among the low- and mid-income residents of the state. To reach this market, Michigan Saves launched a program to serve this market and overcome barriers that historically made it difficult to secure financing for this sector.


  • $8.7 million in residential loans
  • $1.6 million in commercial loans


Our first commercial program

Initially a pilot program, Michigan Saves’ Business Energy Financing program formally got up and running in 2012 to meet a market demand for efficiency and renewable energy improvements to commercial buildings. This program surpassed its targets to grow to nearly $35 million in cumulative financing by the end of 2017


  • $12.9 million in residential loans
  • $245,000 in commercial financing


BetterBuildings for Michigan

Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Michigan Agency for Energy, the BetterBuildings for Michigan program was established to create a sustainable energy-efficiency market through outreach, education, and investment tools for lenders. Michigan Saves managed the grant on behalf of the state by working with several partners throughout the state to implement the program. By the time the program wound down in 2013, BetterBuildings for Michigan had completed energy-efficiency improvements on 7,689 homes throughout the state. Including directly leveraged homeowner participation in other programs, like the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Wyandotte Municipal Services WIRES program, BetterBuildings served 11,571 homeowners in total.


  • First loan for a solar PV system in June 2011
  • $5.0 million in residential loans


Our first loan

In October 2010, the first project was financed through Michigan Saves’ Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) for just over $3,000. HELP financing offers favorable terms and helps families reduce energy costs through improvements to their homes. As of the end of 2017, HELP has financed more than 9,000 projects in Michigan residences, totaling more than $87 million, $317,000 of which was in residential loans.


  • $317,000 in residential loans


The birth of Michigan Saves

Through a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission, Michigan Saves began with the mission to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in Michigan homes. This initial grant totaled $8 million, with $1 million earmarked to set up the organization and the remainder to establish a credit enhancement in the form of a loan loss reserve, which allows lenders to offer better rates and longer terms.


Paul Schutt
Issue Media Group

Roselyn Tantraphol
Vice President
Moonsail North

David Wible
Comerica Bank

Pat Poli
Ex Officio (Special Advisor)
Michigan Public Service Commission

John Boladian
DTE Energy

Amanda Godward
Ecotelligent Homes

Jason Matley
TRUE Community Credit Union

Conan Smith
Michigan Environmental Council

Shelley Sullivan
Energy Sciences

Selma Tucker
Michigan Municipal League

Teri Van Sumeren
Consumers Energy Company

Alina Verdiyan

James White


Utility Partners

  • Consumers Energy
  • DTE
  • Holland Board of Public Works
  • Lansing Board of Water & Light
  • SEMCO Energy Gas Company
  • Traverse City Light & Power

Residential Lending

  • Dort Financial Credit Union
  • FreeStar Financial Credit Union
  • Genisys Credit Union
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • TRUE Community Credit Union

Commercial Lending

  • Ascentium Capital
  • Team Financial Group, Inc.
  • National Energy Improvement Fund
  • Inclusive Property Capital

Additional Partners

  • City of Ann Arbor
  • City of Holland
  • EcoWorks Detroit
  • Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley
  • Holland Energy Fund
  • Michigan Air Conditioning Contractors
  • Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
  • Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association
  • Michigan Public Service Commission
  • Southeast Michigan Air Conditioning Contractors Association
  • Traverse City
  • United States Department of Energy
  • Walker-Miller Energy