Explore what we accomplished together in 2020

Letter from the president

Mary Templeton, President and CEO of Michigan Saves

Dear Michigan Saves partners,

I think we all can agree that 2020 was a year we won’t soon forget. At Michigan Saves, our hearts were broken by the suffering so many endured as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—families who lost loved ones, those who lost their jobs, business owners who had to close their doors for good, children who quickly had to adapt to virtual learning, and the list goes on. I’d be remiss to not acknowledge those who put the needs of others before their own—especially essential healthcare workers and those within our industry who immediately addressed indoor air quality issues to develop safety protocols for working indoors during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic helped us to realize just how vital our efforts are, but it also gave us clear visibility into inequities in low-income communities and in communities of color.

The summer of 2020 brought the nation’s biggest protests for racial justice and civil rights in a generation. Last June, I released a statement addressing racial injustice and took responsibility for falling short in identifying and implementing enduring solutions, recommitting to our efforts condemning racism and taking an active role in ensuring communities of color can access energy efficiency and renewable energy resources. Internally, we hired social change agent Yodit Mesfin Johnson, president and CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work to work with our board and staff on our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Our board and staff participated in a five-day equity challenge to raise awareness, change understanding and shift behavior around DEI. Additionally, under Yodit’s leadership, we conducted a survey, which is informing the work of a newly created change team within Michigan Saves to examine every aspect of the work we do and how we do it. We understand this is a lifelong journey, and we are excited about how our work will evolve over the next few years as a result of our commitment.

While 2020 was deeply challenging and painful, we also saw so much resilience. This resilience, whether in the face of racial inequity or a global pandemic, inspires us to dig deep as the nation’s first nonprofit green bank to expand our programs so that everyone—no exceptions—has access to the benefits of clean energy. One way we executed on this was with the launch of a new, accessible residential on-bill financing program in Traverse City. Similar to the program we helped the City of Holland launch back in 2016, the on-bill program uses on-time bill payment history as the primary underwriting to approve the loans. This allowed so many more Michiganders to benefit from the comfort, safety, and cost savings of energy improvements.

Despite the challenges, we also hit some major milestones in 2020. We celebrated ten years of energy financing with our Toast to Ten virtual event and we surpassed $300 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy financing in Michigan’s homes and businesses. In the fall, we unveiled a bold new brand and logo that provides a clear focus on access and inclusivity and positions Michigan Saves as an expert in clean energy financing.

While we have a lot more to do to ensure that every Michigander has access to the benefits of energy efficiency and clean energy, our 2020 annual report details the steps we have taken to ensure we advance clean energy solutions for all.

On behalf of the Michigan Saves team, I offer my sincere gratitude to all our partners for your continued support.

Mary Templeton

By the numbers

Have you ever wondered how much energy and money Michigan Saves’ programs are actually saving? The 2020 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: 41% Commercial: 59%




*Indicates savings for gas and electric

Timeline & milestones


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

David Allen
Midwest Energy Cooperative

Gregory Bergtold
The Dow Chemical Company (Retired)

John Boladian
DTE Energy

Amanda Godward
Ecotelligent Homes

Julie Hales-Smith
Michigan State Housing Development Authority (Retired)

Saunteel Jenkins
The Heat And Warmth Fund

Doug Luciani
Cunningham-Limp Development Company

Jason Matley
TRUE Community Credit Union

Stephanie Minott
MSU Federal 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