Paul Ahrns
Program Director

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

California Does it Again: Go Green Financing and The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program

California has always been a pioneer in energy efficiency programs and policies to achieve ambitious energy savings goals. Recently, I shared the story of PACE Financing in California. Today, I would like to share the most recent innovations in energy efficiency financing the State has unveiled. Through a private-public partnership between state agencies and the Investor-Owned Utilities in California, the State created the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) to develop attractive financing options for homes and businesses so that more projects with deeper energy savings can be completed.

COMM Blog IN LED Image 2014The CHEEF has resulted in two major programs that are helping residents and business owners achieve energy savings: Go Green Financing and the Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) Program. Go Green Financing is a State-sponsored website designed to help consumers find the best financing options available for their energy projects. Through Go Green Financing, consumers can use the Finance Concierge to narrow down financing options based on their project and financing criteria, browse all financing options available using the Find Financing tool, and learn how to differentiate between financing product types through the Financing Education tab. Consumers can also use the Find Financing tool to compare products, research financial institutions, contact lenders, and apply for financing.

Through the REEL Program, homeowners and renters can access lower-cost financing for energy efficiency projects by reducing the risk to participating lenders. The REEL Program reduces this risk by making available to participating lenders over $20 million in loan loss reserve funds for financing qualified projects. This allows the participating lenders to provide better rates, lower fees, or more inclusive underwriting criteria. The REEL program currently has 4 participating lenders: California Coast Credit Union, Matadors Community Credit union, Desert Valley Credit Union, and Valley Oak Credit Union and has financed over $750k in energy projects. The REEL Program can be used for upgrading clothes washers, water heaters, HVAC systems, pool pumps, lighting, windows, insulation, or installing cool roofs among other upgrades.

The REEL Program provides another option for financing energy projects and is available to all homeowners and renters living within the Investor-Owned Utilities’ service areas. The program also provides an alternative to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing which is not available in every jurisdiction and at times is not the best option for project financing.

There are a lot of benefits to living in California; CHEEF financing options are the cherry on top. If you have any questions on Go Green Financing or the REEL Program, please contact Paul Ahrns, Climate Planning Program Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..