February 12, 2018

Grant program for historic buildings expands to include energy efficiency

Here's how to apply

For more information on the grant program, contact Senior Program Officer Maggie Drummond-Bahl of the Maine Community Foundation at or 207-412-0839. For guidance with energy efficiency grant proposals, applicants are encouraged to contact Anne Ball, program director, Maine Development Foundation, at or 207-622-6345.

A statewide organization headquartered in Ellsworth with offices in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people.

Grants of up to $20,000 are available through the Maine Community Foundation to help nonprofits implement energy efficiency measures in historic buildings they own.

The community foundation's Belvedere Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency Fund typically awards approximately $250,000 per year for the restoration of historic buildings. The program will expand in 2018 to award an additional $100,000 each year for energy efficiency projects in historic buildings.

Grants are available for capital expenses related to restoration of historic buildings, including the cost of energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades recommended by an audit. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2018. For more information and to apply online go here.

The energy efficiency grants are the result of a successful pilot program called Grants to Green, a three-year effort of the community foundation, Maine Development Foundation and Efficiency Maine. Grants to Green funded 27 projects from 2014 to 2017 that allowed nonprofits to put cost savings toward programming, reduce energy use and sustain their historic structures.

Nonprofits that realized energy savings in the first round of grants include:

  • Bangor Opera House and Penobscot Theatre Company, which replaced its 45-year-old furnace that was operating at 50% efficiency and incandescent stage lighting that lasted for only 20 performances. The $100,000 Grants to Green funding allowed the organization to install a 95% efficient heating system and LED lighting that can last for 4,000 performances. The changes have reduced its electric bill by 25%.
  • Blue Hill Public Library, built in 1940, used a $14,850 grant to replace period pendant lamps and other fixtures that weren't compatible with LED technology. New LED light strips allowed the library to lower its carbon footprint, reduce electricity consumption by nearly 30 percent and save about $2,000 per year.
  • St. Elizabeth's Child Development Center in Portland upgraded its facility located in a former mansion that was built in 1805. Grants to Green funding of $45,103 saved St. Elizabeth's 16% on its electric bill and 35% on natural gas in the first year of upgrades, which included LED lights, heat pumps, storm windows and steam heating controls.

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