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Elevations Credit Union

EnergySmart in Boulder County


Fort Collins

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the minimum amount I can borrow through the Elevations energy loan program?

A: For home energy loans on a personal house or property, the minimum amount is $500. For business energy loans the minimum is $1,000.

Q: What are Elevations energy loan terms and rates?
A: Elevations Credit Union is offering 36, 60, 84, 120, and 180 month fixed rate loans with no prepayment penalties for both home and business loans. Home energy loans start as low as 2.75% APR and business energy loans start as low as 3.75% APR.

Q: There is an upgrade or retrofit I would like to undertake on my property but I do not see it on the list of eligible measures?
A: Energy Smart in Boulder County and the Denver Energy Challenge programs may grant approval for custom measures on a case by case basis to only one project or as additions to the overall eligible measures list. The criteria for likely approval of a measure depends on its similarity to existing measures - or function as an extension of, or technological advancement that builds off an existing measure, total potential energy savings, and relevance to emerging or innovating technologies.

Q: I am not a member of Elevations Credit Union and I do all my banking elsewhere, do I still need to join Elevations?
A: Yes, all borrowers are required to become a member of the credit union either prior to or at time of closing. A $25 deposit to a share savings account is necessary to initiate the membership.

Q: I would like to take out a loan for solar panels or a geothermal system for my property, is that possible?
A: Yes, many renewable energy technologies are on the list of eligible measures including solar panels, solar garden subscriptions, and small system biomass and wind power. However, it is required that you achieve or are projected to achieve 15% energy savings through other eligible energy efficiency measures (not required in Boulder County). This requirement is to ensure that your property does not have any major inefficiencies that would require a larger-than-necessary renewable system to be installed. Your advisor can help you through the process of achieving maximum energy savings at minimum cost to you.

Q: How do I get started? How can I start saving money?

A: If you are not sure where to begin, call an Energy Advisor at 303.544.1000 (EnergySmart in Boulder County) or 720.865.5520 (Denver Energy Challenge in the City & County of Denver) to schedule a brief energy assessment and to help identify available rebates and financial incentives and help find a participating contractor. If you already have a project and contractor identified, we encourage you to call an Energy Advisor to ensure that your project will qualify. You will then be referred to Elevations for energy loans.

Q: Do I have to get an energy assessment to qualify for an Elevations energy loan?

A: An energy assessment is not required, however it is recommended and will help identify and prioritize energy efficiency projects.

Q: Do I have to use an EnergySmart or Certifiably Green Denver Contractor? How do I find a Contractor?

A: Either an approved contractor from EnergySmart in Boulder County or Denver Energy Challenge, OR, an Xcel Energy Trade Partner are able to offer services that qualify for an energy loan.

Q: I am building a new home or making an addition to my current home. Can I take out a loan to fund energy efficient construction?
A: No. Unfortunately the projects must only be for existing buildings and Elevations cannot loan to “new construction.” The work needs to take place within the existing footprint of the structure. Work on an existing building that involves an expansion of the footprint will be reviewed on a case by case basis for eligibility.

Q: I know what I would like to upgrade and am ready to take out a loan, do I still need to sign up with the EnergySmart or Denver Energy Challenge Programs?
A: Yes, all loan applicants must register with the respective program. This requirement is to help ensure grant compliance by all parties and collect the Department of Energy reporting information that is required for these loans. All data that is reported is scrubbed of any personal identifying information and is used to help us track the success of this program. It also gives the borrower the opportunity to engage with the free energy advising service, which can provide assistance with: identifying all existing rebates and other incentives, prioritizing and identifying projects and potential paybacks, identifying contractors, evaluating bids.

Q: I already completed efficiency upgrades on my property, can I count those towards the 15% energy savings needed for a renewable energy loan?
A: It depends, since pre-loan retrofit requirements differ between whether you live in Denver or Boulder County. We would recommend that you contact EnergySmart in Boulder County (303.544.1000) or Denver Energy Challenge (720.865.5520) to learn more.

Q: Can I take out a loan for a power purchase agreement or solar leasing arrangement?
A: Yes. Many solar companies operate on a business model where the customer does not own the solar panels that are installed on their roof; instead, they agree to purchase the power that is produced from those panels at a fixed price for a period of time (usually 20 years.) Additionally, many companies now offer solar leasing, but with tighter credit requirements and at higher rates than the Elevations energy loan program. If you do not qualify for one of these programs, you may qualify for an Elevations energy loan. The 15% stipulation still applies for PPAs and solar leases as well as if you are a Denver resident or business.

Q: What about work that has to be done as a result of the Energy Efficiency improvement?

A: Measures needed to install the new equipment can be financed, such as repairing drywall or relocating pipes to install a new boiler. In addition, health and safety measures can be funded as part of the loan if they are needed as a result of the energy efficiency work being done. For instance, CAZ testing after building envelope work and/or HVAC work plus any associated ventilation work that needs to be done as a result of the CAZ test.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the types of facilities that are eligible to participate in this loan?
A: The following facilities are not currently eligible for an Elevations energy loan:

  • Any home or business located outside of Boulder County or City and County of Denver
  • Public or government institutions
  • Medical marijuana facilities
  • Casinos
  • Golf courses
  • Zoos
  • Aquariums
  • Facilities with pools

Q: Can I use this loan if I am trying to earn points towards SmartRegs compliance in the City of Boulder?
A: Absolutely! Matt Wilmoth, the fulltime SmartRegs energy advisor, can help you get up to compliance, find rebates, and help you apply for a loan to help you afford the measures as well.

Q: Can I get a business energy loan if I live in the City or County of Denver?
Yes, Elevations, in conjunction with the Denver Energy Challenge is working to provide energy loans for business owners in the city or county of Denver. To get more information about a project you're looking to implement, please contact the Denver Energy Challenge at or call 720.865.5520 or contact Elevations Credit Union at or 303.443.4672.

Q: Does Solar Thermal count as a renewable energy measure?
A: No, Solar Thermal is considered an energy efficiency measure under this program, and is thus not subject to the 15% energy savings first rule. In fact, installation of solar thermal system can be used toward achieving your 15% energy savings-for-renewable-energy goals.

The use of Denver and County of Denver Energy Challenge Logo is by permission granted from the City and County of Denver, all rights reserved. The use of the EnergySmart Logo is by permission granted from Boulder County, all rights reserved.