California boasts some of the nation’s most aggressive climate action goals, leading the charge to lower emissions and safeguard its communities as natural disasters and severe weather continue to worsen. But while the wealthiest Californians can easily invest in their homes and businesses with upgrades such as rooftop solar, battery power storage, energy-efficient HVAC, and windows and doors, millions of property owners face insurmountable costs and a lack of affordable financing options to make the same investments.
That’s where companies like Ygrene are stepping in.
Jim Reinhart, a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry at top-tier companies like Capital One, knew he had landed on something special when he learned about Ygrene’s unique business model. It wasn’t long before he secured a seat on the Board and, soon after, accepted the role of President and CEO of the Petaluma, California-based firm.
“Our mission is fundamentally about providing affordable, flexible financing and leveling the playing field to make the critical upgrades homes and businesses need accessible to a broad array of property owners, rather than the wealthiest few,” said Reinhart.
Ygrene’s award-winning property improvement financing offers equitable access to residential and commercial property owners, with 100 percent financing and approval based primarily on property equity for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, seismic retrofits, and natural disaster protection improvements. The financing combines private sector capital with public sector oversight and regulation – at zero cost to taxpayers. Ygrene allows homeowners to make critical improvements when they need it most — like furnaces in cold snaps, air conditioning during sweltering summers, and roof replacements during the rainy season.
“I immediately saw Ygrene as a purpose-driven company, doing the work that the entire world needs: financing property improvements in a way that can work for everyone while reducing monthly energy bills and helping meet climate and resiliency goals,” said Reinhart. “Ygrene does the right thing for all: providing access and options to home and business owners at all socioeconomic levels.”
In California alone, the estimated impacts of the more than 40,000 projects financed by Ygrene speak for themselves: 4.3 billion gallons of water saved, 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions reduced, and over 13,000 jobs created – all generating more than $2 billion in gross economic output.
“We are thrilled to be working with so many homeowners, some of whom would otherwise be locked out of making these upgrades to their properties. Our work makes it possible for more homeowners to be a part of our state’s mission to lead the nation in cutting emissions, improving efficiency, and most importantly, keeping our communities safe from the repercussions of natural disasters and severe weather events,” said Reinhart.
“Homeowners can rest easy knowing that Ygrene has the highest level of consumer protections in the home improvement financing industry, including ‘know-before-you-owe’ written disclosures, a live confirmation of terms call, and a guarantee that no funds will be paid to contractors until the property owner verifies that the project has been completed to their satisfaction,” added Reinhart. “The result? Customer satisfaction scores similar to the most trusted consumer brands and consistently higher than major players in the financial services industry.”
For homeowners like Mary in Los Angeles, Ygrene meant peace of mind. She scrutinized the terms and decided it was the right choice. “I’ve been a widow since 2004, and people try to take advantage. But my experience with [Ygrene] was not like that. It gave me flexibility…which made me feel more comfortable,” Mary said.
Ygrene’s commercial offering, which helps small- and medium-sized businesses secure funding for property upgrades, has already financed more than 1,500 projects. Business owners can even access retroactive financing for already-completed eligible projects – allowing them to reinvest those dollars back into their businesses.
Ygrene’s commercial financing provides business owners fully amortized, fixed rates with the ability to qualify for more than 90 percent CLTV. This funding enables property owners to dramatically lower their long-term costs through improved resiliency and energy efficiency, in addition to increasing occupancy and lease rates with no required performance guarantees.
“COVID has put a spotlight on health and safety, which is likely to remain for years into the future,” said Ryan Moore, Vice President and Head of Commercial Business. “We’re financing many upgrades to office buildings and their heating and air conditioning systems. There is an uptick in interest in atomizers that remove pathogens and increase tenants’ air quality, making people feel safe and comfortable being back in the office.”
To date, Ygrene has provided $2.7 billion in funding for projects in more than 550 communities nationwide, eliminating 2.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions and creating over 50,000 jobs – while saving customers and communities millions of dollars.
“Helping property owners from all walks of life access affordable and trustworthy financing, with easy-to-understand terms, is at the core of our mission,” said Reinhart. “Folks know the importance of making improvements that not only make sense for their homes and businesses, but for their communities and the environment – and Ygrene will be there to help them get the job done.”
Property improvement financing through Ygrene is currently available in twenty states with plans to expand to thirty states by the end of the year.