Inaugural Dow Sustainability Fellow Cassie Brown helps city establish revolving loan fund for A2 energy efficiency upgrades

April 16, 2014

The first cohort of Dow Sustainability Fellows has recently partnered with the City of Ann Arbor on a pilot project establishing a new, low-interest revolving loan fund for landlords and renters seeking to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties. Cassie Brown, who is seeking a dual degree in engineering and public policy and a Science, Technology, and Public Policy certificate, is among the Dow Sustainability Fellows engaged in the project. Others include Alicia Chin and Amy Eischen from the Ross School of Business, Efrie Friedlander from the Taubman College of Art and Architecture, and Emily Taylor, who is affiliated with the Erb Institute, the School of Natural Resources, and the Ross School of Business.

"There are benefits for both property owners and renters to invest in energy efficiency, as $50 million is spent on utilities annually in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti," reports Stacy Wennstrom in the Erb Perspective Blog, "Energy efficiency innovation in Ann Arbor." "Property owners benefit from higher property values, higher rents, lower energy costs, and better tenant retention, while renters benefit from lower utility costs and greater comfort."

The project was developed in collaboration with City of Ann Arbor personnel Matt Naud (MPP '90), environmental coordinator, and Jamie Kidwell, sustainability associate. "We would never have been able to even talk about developing this loan program without the seed funding and technical assistance the Dow Fellows gave us," says Kidwell. The city hopes to be able to extend the first loans this summer.