Skip to Content

Our Environmental Work

Caring for the Environment is in Our Nature

Our environmental work is integrally linked to our concern for people who have been left out of the financial mainstream. Low-income people are more likely to live in the least energy-efficient homes, attend schools with the worst indoor air quality, and live in areas that are subject to pollution and poor water quality.

Self-Help counters this dynamic by embracing the Triple Bottom Line model, which promotes:

  1. Equity by delivering positive impact that benefits low-income people and communities;
  2. Economic development by providing loans that help entrepreneurs start and expand businesses and provide better jobs; and
  3. Environmental returns by providing loans for a broad variety of purposes, including energy efficiency, healthier buildings, clean energy, sustainable food production, ecotourism and preservation of natural areas

Our goal is to make sustainability part of what we do every day, and it's one we take seriously. Read more in Green Money Journal, our story of going greener with commitment, moxie and alliances with innovative partners. 

Our Green Work in Action

Financing Renewable Energy

Solar energy and other renewable energy businesses have a double impact: they help create sustainable alternatives to fossil-fueled energy, and they help build economies and provide jobs, especially in rural areas. Self-Help has lent more than $176 million to solar energy installations. These projects created more than 2,250 construction jobs in the clean-energy sector, and will contribute more than 280 megawatts of clean power to the electricity grid--enough to power about 28,000 homes in NC.

Workers installing solar panels on Kingfisher Rooftop in Kinston

Commercial rooftop solar loans help businesses like Kingfisher in Kinston access clean energy.


Supporting Green and Sustainable Businesses

Since 1980, we’ve lent over $68 million to green businesses and nonprofits—including the Mayton Inn, in Cary NC, led by two local entrepreneurs. The owners integrated into their historic renovation a hybrid solar energy and hot water system and carefully optimized the high-efficiency heating and air system with high-tech guest room controls.

Worker installing solar panels on roof of Mayton Inn in Cary NC.

"We wanted Mayton Inn to use the most current technologies available; our 504 loan from Self-Help made it possible."
–Deanna Crossman 
Owner of Mayton Inn,  Cary NC


Educating the Next Generation

Self-Help borrower Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School has an outstanding record of providing great education for its diverse students. In this high-performing public charter school, school leaders decided to make energy efficiency a priority as they renovated the campus. They turned to Self-Help for advice. We helped the school obtain an in-depth energy assessment and evaluate their options, including switching to an efficient LED lighting system that automatically adjusts classroom lighting and installing a high-efficiency HVAC system. The school has been honored for its results with awards including being named a National Green Ribbon winner by the US Department of Education. Read more about ANCS on our blog.

Girl standing next to a water-bottle filling station

A student points out the amount of waste reduced thanks to the water-bottle filling station. 

Visualizing Our Impact

Learn about Self-Help's Green Impact through these infographics. Click each image to see the full infographic.

Self-Help has invested over $350 million in green loans.

Self-Help is doing its part to combat climate change.

Be a Part of Our Work