Overview / Summary
The NCIF is part of the EPA’s $27 Billion GHG Reduction Fund, which is itself part of the Inflation Reduction Act. The NCIF is the largest of the three components of the GHGRF, at $14 Billion, followed by the Solar for All initiative ($7 Billion) and the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator ($6 Billion).
We spoke, last week, with Sadie Mckeown, President of CPC. Sadie is a long time champion for built-world decarbonization and Passive House and we have had a series of discussions previously on how best to combat the lack of understanding in commercial real estate lending regarding PH projects. In this most recent discussion the vibe was electric – as Sadie was excited to share early details and the emerging potential of the NCIF and the GHGRF as a whole.
The NCIF addresses many of the issues that have been a roadblock for decarbonization up until now, and in particular, for structural solutions such as passive house level retrofits, being able to find viable financing options.
Other funds, such as the NY Climate Friendly Home Fund ($250M), also administered by CPC, have money for equipment upgrades, but no clear path to financing envelope or façade work. The NCIF will have no such restrictions.
Between the scope ($14B), the depth (very few restrictions on use) and the speed (intense fast-track deployment, particularly from now to Nov. ‘24) this fund has the potential to be a game changer.
CPC has joined with several partners to create Climate United. Climate United is a led by a partnership between Calvert Impact, Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), and Self-Help, with origination and strategic support from Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (HASI).
Planned are “three products for existing buildings, and these are all multifamily first mortgage products, essentially with that low-cost capital at the bottom of the stack.”
- 1- The Clean Air Mortgage: In order to get all the way to net zero, “will have the largest amount of low-cost capital”
- 2- The Save a Ton Mortgage: “where you’re significantly reducing your greenhouse gas, but you don’t get all the way to zero, but you have to have that plan to get there over time.” (“So maybe in 15 years, you’re swapping out that high-efficiency gas boiler that you just bought seven years ago with your heat pumps, and you have reserves to be able to do that.”)
- 3- The third product is “Clean Air Support: where you already have an existing first mortgage in place but need support to decarbonize your buildings”
A forth product is also planned for new-built projects.
Impact on YP Retrofit
While a stack or matrix of solutions for financing EE retrofit upgrades is still extremely viable and important, the NCIF appears to present a path toward a foundation of support for an entire project. It can potentially streamline and simplify the process.
While there are also many large new federal programs related to IRA implementation, such as HUD’s $2 Billion GRRP, including the Comprehensive, Leading Edge and Elements cohorts, coordinating the best fitting programs on a first plus supplemental subordinate, that is possible with CPC and the NCIF is a unique option for the initial targets of our project.
When combined with tax abatements, credits plus direct subsidies and grants, a picture begins to emerge of the massive funding potential that is likely to peak in 2024-25.
Also, if an ultra low interest long term loan, such as the NCIF is offering, is used to purchase equipment upgrades, for example, there are many federal and state rebates available and, in most cases, would still apply.
Please see the list of features below for a closer look at some of the advantages and unique options provided by the program.
- Interest rates from 50 basis points to 3% for decarbonization costs
- No minimum project size
- All US States + territories included
- long term and possible interest only payment options
- Three levels of retrofit funding: net zero all at once (full yeti), partial and supplementary (for buildings already owned)
- All retrofit related funding subordinate to first (bottom of stack)
- regulated affordable, but also market rate, multifamily housing
- true market transformation goal
- CPC is also a First Mortgage Lender, will do a lot of the lending directly
- “We need to deploy, and the people that are ready to do this are going to get the capital at the door.“
- Can be combined with tax abatements and other state (and federal) programs
- Financing available for mixed use commercial conversions (adaptive reuse)
- CPC can also work with any other first mortgage lender
- “if you have a deal that you’re looking at that could benefit from this capital, we’d like you to put it in our pipeline.”
- “One of the things that we’ve told everybody, and we’re very firm on this, is we’re trying to make the capital as easy as possible to access because to decarbonize is so hard”
- “And then if you have a live project, and a first mortgage lender, you can bring it to me, and I’m happy to talk to the first mortgage lender and educate them on this program and how this capital would work. “
- “documents will be super friendly”
- “And so we’re saying we’re the first mortgage experts. We’re the multifamily financing experts. We know how to put this money in.”
- “…remember, it’s an election year. This is Biden’s signature program. He and Kamala want to be at ribbon-cutting saying that IRA did this… and we’re trying to tee up some cool projects that will be great PR for the federal government.”
The list and size of packages underway or soon to be implemented for built-world decarbonization by retrofit continues to expand. Based on the size, scope, user friendliness and extreme fast-track orientation, The National Clean Investment Fund to be administered by CPC / Climate united, looks like the one that can tie the rest together.
Rather than a one-of-a-kind step by step cobbling together of unique packages for each retrofit, this program and its various products could accelerate the possibility of creating a repeatable stack (with variations based on geography, building size and other factors) that can be rapidly deployed.
The ability to either go to existing lenders for a 1st mortgage and then layer on supplemental resources, or to go to CPC for one-stop packaging, appears also to be a strong improvement in the workflow for gathering resources.
|System Type||Heating Capacity||Rebate|
|Ground Source / Geothermal Heat Pump||< 300,000 BTUH||$1,500 per 10,000 BTUH|
|Ground Source / Geothermal Heat Pump||90-120% (“full load”) of heating load < 300,000 BTUH||$1,000 per 10,000 BTUH|
|Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump||90-120% (“full load”) of heating load < 300,000 BTUH with integrated controls||$1,200 per 10,000 BTUH (Starting Sept 1, 2022)|
|Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump||90-120% (“full load”) of heating load < 300,000 BTUH with fossil fuel system completely removed (“decommissioned”)||$1,400 per 10,000 BTUH (Starting Sept 1, 2022)|
|Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump||<90% of heating load||$500 per outdoor unit (partial load)|
|Geothermal, air source, or VRF||300,000 (large buildings)||Custom incentive: $80 per MMBTU energy savings, or $100,000 per MMBTU for projects that include building envelope improvements|
These incentive tables are for National Grid and NYSEG territories. Visit CleanHeatNY for rebates in other areas.