Budgeting on The Path to Zero for Net-zero Funding and Commercial Energy Upgrades

Sometimes the biggest hurdle between you and energy upgrades is finding funding. We want to help you cut through the cost barriers and bring your energy ideas to life. Here are some of our favorites to get the gears turning: 

Stacking Incentives

If your home or business is in Pitkin or Eagle counties within the Roaring Fork Valley, you can stack utility rebates on top of CORE incentives for up to 50% of your energy project funding. We put together this cheat sheet to help you find all of your options in one place. Looking for a new heat pump and live in Aspen? If it’s your primary source of heat, CORE will provide an incentive up to $2,500 and City of Aspen Electric will put up another $2,500. That’s $5,000 off your new heat pump right off the bat!

Check out these resources for more info on rebates and incentives: 

The Garfield family was able to use CORE’s rebates to remodel their 1970’s home with efficiency in mind. Read their story here. PC: Michele Cardamone Photography


For big and innovative projects or if you are considering a net-zero home, apply for a grant from CORE. CORE’s variety of grant options cover nearly every type of energy upgrade, especially when they inspire others to take action.

Whether you are a home or business owner or work for a local government, school or community organization, CORE has you covered.

DIY net-zero homebuilder, Ben Koons, was able to use a Net Zero Homes Grant to go all the way. Read how he made it happen here. PC Daniel Bayer Photography

Tax Credits

Tax credits can subsidize the cost of energy retrofits, big time. There are state and federal credits available for all sorts of energy improvements from installing renewable energy systems to getting an electric vehicle. A perfect place to start is the DSIRE. It’s a one stop shop with all of your options in one place. Just punch in your zip code and you are off and running.

These three state and federal tax credits are a great place to start: 

  • Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credits – The federal government will provide a tax credit of up to 26% of your renewable energy project cost. That includes solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal, wind, biomass and more. If it’s renewable, it’s most likely covered. 
  • Equipment Tax Credits for Primary Residences – Pile an equipment tax credit on top of your rebates – 10% of your project cost up to $500.
  • Colorado Residential Renewable Energy Credits – This one is a little more confusing, but basically you won’t be taxed on property that provides renewable energy to your residence. Did you install solar panels that increased your property value? Have a county assessor come up and verify that you don’t need to pay property tax on your panels.
CORE’s program manager Marty Treadway is the king of finding funding for energy projects. He used tax credits to help fund his net-zero renovation. Read how he made it happen here. PC Daniel Bayer Photography

Financing and Other Funding

Sometimes you need a loan for the biggest projects, but did you know that building or renovating with energy efficiency in mind can get you more favorable terms?

Check out these carbon-cutting loan options: 

  • Energy Efficiency Mortgages (EEM) Whether you are renovating or building a brand new home, an EEM is a great place to start, especially if you are a veteran. You’ll need a HERS rating, but don’t worry…CORE will help you get it done.
  • Clean Energy Credit Union – This credit union only funds green projects. If you are adding renewable energy, renovating your home with energy efficiency in mind or looking to buy an electric vehicle, they should have you covered. It’s also a great option when considering an EEM.
  • RENU Loans – Finance 100% of your energy project for up to 15 years on a low-interest rate by applying for a RENU loan.
  • Alpine Bank’s Green Lending Program Alpine bank has made some serious environmental commitments and they are putting their money where their mouth is. They will give you a discount on a home equity loan or line of credit if you plan to make energy improvements. Bonus, walk right into any of the branches located throughout the Valley.  
Aspen homeowner Michael Miracle used a low-interest loan to get the perfect boiler for his space. Read how it worked out for him and his family here.

These are the terms of the financing options above as of July 2021.

PROGRAM Secured Unsecured Loan Limits Loan Terms Interest Rate Eligible Projects
RENU X Up to $50,000 Up to 15 years Starting at 2.75% Renewable energy, energy efficiency
Alpine Bank Green Lending X Flexible Up to 10 years Variable Renewable energy, appliances, automobiles
Clean Energy Credit Union X X Up to $90,000 Up to 6 years 2.49 to 7.99% Solar PV, energy efficiency, automobiles

We want to make a carbon-free future as easy as possible. If you don’t know where to start, call CORE and schedule an energy assessment or advising session. We’ll help you every step of the way from planning your project to reaping the rewards of your completed project. Finding funding can be tricky but you’ll get it done right with CORE in your corner.  

Still, choosing the right financing product is important. We recommend you further research repayment periods, interest rates, eligible projects and other conditions. Commercial building owners, developers and multifamily complexes may seek additional opportunities, such as Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing (C-PACE).