Energy affordability loan program to benefit Arkansas companies and employees announced

Monday, April 12, 2010

Governor Mike Beebe today announced L’Oréal USA, located in North Little Rock, will be the first industry in Arkansas to participate in the Home Energy Affordability Loan Program (HEAL), an energy efficiency pilot program that will help employees reduce their energy costs. The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is administering the program on behalf of the Arkansas Energy Office, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).  

Funds for the program are provided by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The HEAL program received total funding of $2 million.  

HEAL leverages a zero-interest revolving loan fund to finance industrial energy efficiency improvements.  Each participating business then establishes a loan fund that employees can access to finance similar improvements on their homes. Energy savings are used to repay the loans and provide long-term savings on utility bills.   

“The HEAL program will demonstrate that responsible companies can take energy-efficiency initiatives beyond the walls of their actual facilities,” Governor Beebe said.  “L’Oréal recognizes that helping its employees take energy-efficiency measures at home will benefit its company and communities in the long run.”

As the first participant in CCI’s HEAL program, L’Oréal USA has agreed to complete lighting retrofits throughout their North Little Rock facilities, and commit a portion of their energy cost savings to an internal revolving loan fund for employees to fund energy efficiency improvements in their own homes.  These loans will be paid back through payroll deductions. The energy efficiency retrofit is expected to save the company thousands on their annual energy costs, while allowing their employee base to realize similar savings.

One hundred L’Oréal USA employees will receive free home energy audits on a first come, first served basis.  Based on income, these working families will be eligible to receive retrofit implementation assistance from trained AmeriCorps service members that will reduce their overall cost of improvements.

“We are very pleased to be a partner in this innovative program” said Eric Fox, Plant Manager of L’Oréal USA’s NLR facilities. “The HEAL program will help us reduce our carbon footprint and, more importantly, help many of our employees increase their home energy efficiency and generate real savings on their monthly utility costs.”  

All aspects of the HEAL pilot are being developed and administered by CCI, including the green collar service opportunity for AmeriCorps service members, which is provided in collaboration with Central Arkansas Workforce Investment Boards. 

CCI is seeking qualified industries in the remaining three Congressional Districts 1, 3, and 4 to participate in the HEAL AR program. Industry eligibility criteria is available at http://www.healar.org/ and includes a minimum of 150 employees with at least fifty qualified employees at low to moderate income as defined by the Census Bureau’s County Level Income Data.  Benefits of participation include a targeted commercial energy audit, access to a zero interest revolving loan fund for commercial energy efficiency retrofits, and one hundred residential energy audits for eligible employees. For more information on industry eligibility criteria and applications please contact Martha Jane Murray at mjmurray@clintonfoundation.org.  Applications will be received until May 15, 2010.