How to Apply for Non-Profit Grants
- General Application
- Property Information
- HUD List
- MultiFamily Unit Information Table
- Income Affidavits
- Utility Information
- Health and Safety Documentation
- Financial Documentation
- Program Costs
- Project Selection
Q. Does my organization qualify for the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP)?
A. Qualifying organizations must:
- Be 501(c)3 non-profit organizations; we also will consider churches with outreach programs
- Own a facility that demonstrates a need for efficiency improvements; we will also consider long-term leases but not government-owned buildings
- Serve low-income populations including the elderly, people with special needs and families with children
- Pay the utility bills for their facility and have historical utility data (ideally two previous years)
- Own a facility that demonstrates a need for efficiency improvements
- Currently use the facility; we will also consider facilities temporarily closed for renovation
Q. We are a church with an outreach program. Do we qualify for NEEP?
A. It depends. The NEEP Committee reviews applications and evaluates how strong your organization’s outreach program is and how it fits in with the goals of our funders. If the services provided are just for your church community, the NEEP Committee doesn’t feel this meets the goals of our funders. However, if you have dedicated staff to your outreach program and it serves the general low-income community, your application has a much greater chance of being approved.
Q. Does NEEP provide funding for organizations currently running a capital campaign for a major renovation?
A. If the renovation plans of your organization include energy efficiency improvements, you may be a good fit for NEEP. Ideally, we like to be involved during the Design Development stage of a renovation project. Also important to our process is that you have existing equipment at your facility and a past usage history. If you do not have existing equipment/usage history, please see the “Does NEEP fund new construction?” response. We are continually improving our process for managing major renovation projects. Please note that it will take up a small to medium time commitment from your organization as well as your design team.
Q. Does NEEP fund new construction?
A. NEEP funding is based on energy efficiency improvements, so funding a building that does not currently exist can be difficult. We accept applications for new construction projects that plan to exceed current code efficiencies but not for a building that meets current code. If you have aspects of your building that will exceed code, we can look at funding the incremental cost of the improvements that are planned. Unless you are planning a very efficient building, the funding available is likely to be minimal, and putting together the application for our funders might be a drain on your design team. Typically, new construction projects work best if there is someone on the design team that is specifically looking at energy efficiency.
Q. My organization was hoping to apply for a single measure in the building. Do I need to fill out the full application?
A. We are developing a new program to address organizations that want a specific upgrade. However, currently you must complete the full application to have any measures funded.
Q. I’m having trouble with the online application. What do I do?
Q. When is the application deadline?
A. NEEP applications are reviewed three times per year: February 15, June 15 and October 15. If you have a capital campaign or major renovation project, we would like to be involved by the Design Development deadline or as soon as possible in the process.
Q. How long until I receive a response to my application?
A. It typically takes six weeks from each application deadline (February 15, June 15 and October 15) for us to issue approval/denial letters. These are sent via email to the primary contact as well as by mail.
Q. Where do you get your funding?
A. Our funding comes from various utility providers (Xcel Energy, SourceGas and Atmos Energy), the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships and Energy Outreach Colorado. The funding is provided to increase the energy efficiency of buildings that provide services to low-income residents so that non-profits can allocate more of their budgets to programs and services.
Q. How are funding levels determined?
A. Funding levels are determined by the available energy efficiency opportunities that are identified at an assessment of your facility and their cost-effectiveness. We evaluate projects based on a Simple Payback Period (SPP), which is essentially the upgrade costs divided by the energy savings predicted for that measure. We look at the total package of measures and aim to have the payback of the package be 10 years or less, but, depending on the project, sometimes we are able to fund packages of measures with higher paybacks.
Q. How is energy savings calculated?
A. Our program uses the deemed savings calculations that have been approved by Xcel Energy for the majority of our calculations. These take into account the existing conditions of the building as well as operating hours of each space.
Q. What is the time commitment from my staff to participate in NEEP?
A. To evaluate efficiency measures, NEEP typically will need four to five hours of meeting time as well as minimal email correspondence. The energy conservation portion of the program will need a minimum of three hours and can go above that depending on the interest level of your organization.
Q. How long does the NEEP process take?
A. From the date of your building assessment until the inspection typically takes four to six months. Depending on your location and the complexity of your project, it can take up to a year to complete measure implementation.
Q. Who does the audit for NEEP?
A. In metro Denver, we utilize Group 14 to do the majority of audits. For projects that are smaller or located outside of metro Denver, audits are typically completed by an engineer that works for Energy Outreach Colorado.
Q. Is the conservation plan mandatory?
A. Yes. Our goal is that every project participating in NEEP has some sort of conservation plan when they are done with the program. By taking advantage of energy conservation in your facility, we know that your building will have a greater decrease in utility bills.
Q. What is the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency?
A. Energy conservation is when people using the building (clients, staff, volunteers) are actively working to reduce energy use. An example of this is turning off the lights. Energy efficiency is the process of installing more efficient equipment that saves energy during operations. An example of this is installing a CFL or LED light bulb to replace an incandescent bulb.
Q. Who manages the construction portion of the NEEP process?
A. If you are located in metro Denver, typically we use a general contractor to manage the work done at your facility unless your building is on the small side, at which point we will manage the work ourselves. If you are located outside of the Denver area, we will either partner with a local weatherization agency or work with you to manage the work.
Q. Can I apply for a utility rebate for work that NEEP does on my building?
A. It depends on who the funders of your project are and for what measure you’d like a rebate on. Please check with us before applying for any rebates. If a measure was funded through our program by a utility provider, it will not qualify for a rebate. However, there are instances when a measure does not pass through the local utility and we are still able to fund it. Please just check with us to see if you qualify.
Q. If we have previously received a grant from Energy Outreach, can we apply for another one?
A. Yes. Funding isn’t guaranteed, but projects will be evaluated based on the level of funding available, the source of funding and the project scope. Buildings previously weatherized using federal funding are less likely to receive funds in general.
Q. Is it a good idea to research other programs?
A. Yes. Apply with everyone. The Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant program offers referrals per city and per county.
Q. Are newly constructed buildings eligible?
A. No. Energy Outreach’s grant only funds existing buildings. Property owners can contact local city/county CDBG coordinators to see if there are funds available for new buildings.
Q. Are application deadline extensions available?
A. No. We cannot offer extensions to any applicants.
Q. Are electronic signatures acceptable?
A. No. Forms need to be downloaded, printed and signed by hand; then uploaded as specified within the required documents section of the application.
Q. Are refrigerator updates considered weatherization services?
A. Yes. One of the energy efficiency measures we evaluated in our grant is the replacement of refrigerators with a more energy-efficient appliance (one that uses less kilowatt hours per year).
Q. In the “Property Name” field, which is required, owner or manager?
A. Please list the applicant information in the “Property Name” field, and specify ownership details in the “Property Description” field.
Q. If ownership is a single member LLC, is a property owner letter still required?
A. No. Ownership letters are only required for purposes of determining financial responsibility.
Q. If the applying organization is a subsidiary of another do we need a letter of support from the parent organization?
A. Yes. A letter of support is required because the owner needs to be aware of and agreeable to the improvements (changes) to their building. Additionally, there is usually some type of cash or in-kind contribution required when participating in this program, so the owner needs to be aware of and agreeable to this.
Q. Where a “copy of the lease” is requested, is this the actual tenant’s lease?
Q. What is required when a property has vacant units?
A. Wait until the last day for application submission to finalize the tenant income form. In the event the units are leased to income-qualified tenants, the allowable funds for your property may potentially increase. At the time of application submission use VACANT for all of the unleased units.
Q. What is the purpose of the HUD list?
A. The HUD list indicates that a property is verified to have at least a 66% tenant population that is considered low-income.
Q. Does being on the HUD list mean you don’t need further tenant income information?
A. No. Being on the HUD list verifies that your property is at least 66% low income. Energy Outreach’s goal is to serve 100% of your property’s low-income residents. In order to do this, an accurate account of eligible tenants is necessary.
Q. If the property is listed on the HUD list, is the MF Unit Information still required?
Q. If the property is not on the HUD list, what documentation should be submitted?
A. For income verification, there are lists of eligible documentation found in the Income Qualification Information section of the application. These include W-2s, paycheck stubs, SSI documentation, LEAP notification, etc.
Q. What is the purpose of the MultiFamily Unit Information Table?
A. The Multifamily Unit Information Table is used to determine the percentage of income-eligible tenants residing at your property. This is a necessary component of grant funding amounts. It also helps us verify that we are serving those in direct need, such as the elderly, the disabled, and families with children under age five.
Q. Do we need to provide information about all residents at the time of application, even for those who do not qualify?
A. Yes. In order for your property to be eligible, at least 66% of your residents must qualify.
Q. Is it a violation of privacy to provide tenant names and income information?
A. When completing this table, we do not require first names. Residents can be listed by last name or as an example, Tenant 1, Tenant 2, etc. This information is required by the state, is used to verify eligibility and is never shared with an outside agency. If selected, we will perform an on-site income verification audit of 10% of the tenant files. This means that the income entered into the Unit Information portion of the application MUST match the unit # and income in the tenants hard-copy file.
Q. What is the purpose of income affidavits?
A. There are two income affidavits. The Affidavit of Income should be signed by the housing provider to confirm that the income listed in the Mulitfamily Unit Information Table is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge. The Affidavit of Income and Household Members must be signed by the tenant in the event there is no other documentation to support income.
Q. Do we need a signed copy of the income affidavit from each resident?
A. No. The Affidavit of Income and Household Members is only required of tenants for whom you have no other documentation of income.
Q. What is the purpose of the Utility Data Table?
A. The Utility Data Table is used to track the annual cost of energy consumption. Energy Outreach will evaluate your property’s energy consumption based on a $/square foot ratio to determine your property’s need for weatherization.
Q. May we use the county’s utility averages as used for Section 8?
A. No. This data may cause an artificially low usage total, which will affect scoring.
Q. What course of action can be taken when utility service providers will not provide utility data?
A. Explain the purpose of the request in detail. Ask for the attention of a supervisor.
Q. Who should sign the confidentiality waiver – housing provider or tenants?
A. Whomever the utility company has assigned an account number. If the property is master-metered, the housing provider will need to complete and sign this agreement for each account number associated with the meter(s). If the property is individually metered, a signed copy of this agreement will be requested of each resident being billed.
Q. If we complete the Utility Data Table, do we also need to upload utility bills?
A. Yes. Utility bills are used by energy auditors to determine the total amount of a property’s energy usage.
Q. Is lead-based paint documentation required if a building was constructed in 1978 or after?
A. No. The use of lead-based paint was banned in 1977.
Q. If a property has not had any health or safety issues, how do we indicate that issues are not applicable?
A. Select "NO" in the section of the application that asks if these hazards have been found. No further documentation is required.
Q. Should building owners initiate inspections prior to Energy Outreach’s energy audit?
A. No. Wait for Energy Outreach’s recommendations so that if the project is denied or deferred, building owners can avoid these costs.
Q. Is it a good idea to upload our annual HUD inspection forms?
A. Yes. You are encouraged to upload all current inspections.
Q. What is the best way to upload financial documentation forms?
A. There is an upload size restriction; only general audit information is required. This includes P&L, income statement, balance sheet and management letter, when applicable.
Q. What if current audit information is not available?
A. Use the previous year’s audited financials and note the status of the current year’s financials, within the application.
Q. What costs are the building owner’s responsibility?
A. Building owners are responsible for the health and safety inspection costs, and they may be required to contribute a percentage to the overall costs of weatherization services.
Q. What percentage of funds matching will be required of this program?
A. The Colorado Energy Office is requiring 50% on heating, windows and refrigerators. Energy Outreach may submit waivers for non-profit organizations and housing authorities. If a property is selected for an audit, the audit report will detail how the federal funds can be spent. The cost of the project and required contribution will be determined after the audit is complete.
Q. How are projects selected?
A. Final rankings will be a result of how one property compares to all the other applicants in the current application cycle. Energy Outreach uses an objective, third-party statistician to run the property data through a scoring model to determine final rankings.
Q. Are properties chosen based on size and financial position?
A. No. EOC uses a federally approved engineering model for scoring and recommendation.
Q. If a property is not selected, can the same application be submitted the following year?
A. Yes. Except in cases where the applicant was denied. Be sure to use current tenant and financial information.