Low-Interest Loans Available for Burlington Businesses
- Burlington Electric Department has $500,000 in available funds for various upgrades and replacements for your business.
- Low-interest fixed-rate loans are paid back over 12-84 months through your electric bill. No money down.
BED applied for and was awarded a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a revolving loan program (RLF) focused on helping the business community make cost-effective electrical energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings. This, on-going, BED loan program enables customers to repay the cost of energy efficiency improvements on the monthly electric bill (on-bill financing, OBF), without any up-front out-of-pocket expense.
As a result of the pandemic, EDA created the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Program.” EDA invited BED to apply for this additional money due to our performance with the first energy efficiency RLF grant. BED recently received approval of our application to capitalize a $500,000 RLF to alleviate sudden and severe economic dislocation caused by the pandemic. BED was also grateful to be awarded an additional $50,000 to defray the cost of administering the new RLF.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of projects qualify?
BED will use the funds in three areas to help the business community recover from the pandemic and prepare for future events:
- Building Ventilation- To reopen safely, many businesses will need to comply with COVID-19 local/state public health guidelines as well as ASHRAE ventilation standards (62.1 and 62.2). This work can include:
- Upgrades to existing HVAC equipment and control systems to make them more effective & efficient
- Expansion to the duct-work distribution system
- Supplementary humidification or dehumidification equipment
- If needed, professional engineering services to design, specify, or otherwise support the HVAC measures funded by the C-19 OBF program.
- Critical Equipment Failure Replacement – Funds to replace, or repair, a key piece of equipment should it fail or be near the end of its usable life, which may impact the ability to stay open or to be as productive or profitable. This work can include:
- Efficient restaurant refrigeration, cooking, and HVAC equipment
- Efficient retail lighting & HVAC equipment
- Energy Efficient office lighting & HVAC equipment
- If needed, professional engineering services to design, specify, or otherwise support the measures funded by the C-19 OBF program.
- Building Façade Alterations- Includes installing a take-out service window in an existing door, non-operable window space or other area.
Who is eligible to participate?
BED small and medium sized business customers (with active BED electric accounts) who meet the eligibility criteria below.
Is there a maximum loan amount?
$2,500 loan minimum and $50,000 loan maximum per building.
What are the loan terms?
Low-interest fixed-rate loans, 12-84 months, no money down. Repayment on the monthly electric bill.
What are the loan eligibility requirements?
Criteria will include:
- A record of timely electric bill payments for 12 to 36 months in advance of the loan closing will be required.
- If building is owner occupied, then permission to place a lien on the property for the amount of the loan.
- If building space is leased, and if needed, written permission from building owner to make improvements.
- Disclosure of back taxes both Federal, State, and local. And repayment terms if applicable.
- Disclosure of back payments to the City Water Department. And repayment terms if applicable.
- Acknowledgment of lien or personal guarantees placement.
- For food and beverage customers, reporting of loss/suspension of liquor or entertainment license.
Can I participate in C-19 OBF if I lease my business space?
Yes. A majority of Burlington’s businesses lease their spaces. The C-19 OBF Loan Agreement, that you will need to sign, requires written permission from the building owner to make the improvements. Also, the Loan Agreement requires you to certify that your lease is longer than the loan re-payment term that you have agreed to.
What if I close my BED account before paying off the OBF loan?
The loan balance will be due in full when you close your BED account.
Can any contractor perform the energy efficiency work?
Yes, but as long as the contractor you select is in the normal business of performing the work that will be outlined in the Scope-of-Work document (SOW) that is made part of the Loan Agreement. Contractors must agree to provide BED, and the business owner, with a formal SOW proposal that separately lists costs of major materials, model numbers of equipment and labor and City permit costs. Contractors are responsible for obtaining all necessary City permits.
Change-orders, to the initial SOW document, that impact the price and/or the energy performance of the project are only allowed with prior approval from BED and business owner.
Business owners are strongly encouraged to get more than one contractor proposal.
How do contractors get paid?
The business owner will receive a check from BED and is responsible for providing full payment to the contractor for the performance of work that was agreed upon when signing the “Business Owner’s C-19 OBF Loan Agreement.”
How will BED assist my project?
The first step is for you, or your contractor, to contact BED’s Energy Service’s team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the potential project. After a brief conversation, BED should be able to let you know if the work is eligible for the program. If so, then your contractor can develop a SOW document described in Q #9 above.
PLEASE NOTE: BED staff cannot provide you with HVAC engineering design services to solve COVID or other ventilation compliance issues. There are a number of Vermont HVAC and Engineering businesses that offer these professional design services. The cost for these services can be included in loans. BED can help you with more energy efficient HVAC options, with technical assistance and possible financial incentives, for equipment and control solutions recommend by Engineers or contractors.
Once the SOW document is reviewed and accepted by BED, you will then be provided with a Loan Application document to determine loan eligibility as described in Q #6.
If found eligible, then a Loan Agreement is executed with BED and the work can begin. Once the work is completed, and successfully inspected, a BED check will be provided to you to pay your contractor.
EDA then reimburses BED, and your monthly loans payments go into a BED C-19 OBF RLF account that allows us to make future loans to other customers.
It is important to note that BED’s regular energy efficiency incentive programs will support your project with technical assistance and cash incentives, when possible, to ensure that projects are energy optimized for cost-effective savings. BED will use its energy efficiency funds to encourage the selection of high efficiency equipment, and practices, that will produce real energy savings for years to come. Energy efficiency improvements can be included in your loan and BED’s incentives can be used to reduce the overall amount of your loan repayment.
Who should I or my contractor contact with any on-going C-19 OBF project questions?
The BED Energy Services team member that you start the project with will be available to answer any questions and will also be responsible for conducting the final BED on-site inspection if one is needed.
Who services my C-19 OBF loan, should I have questions?
The same BED Energy Services team member that you start the project with be available to answer any questions.
How do I get more information about C-19 OBF?
For more information, please feel free to contact BED Energy Services and a representative will get back to you as quickly as possible.