Commercial, Energy Efficiency  -  March 14, 2016

PNC building makes energy efficiency upgrades

PNC Plaza, a 24-story building on East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio, is getting $3.3 million in upgrades to its roof, lighting, air controls and water supply that will be financed using public funds set aside for green energy projects, The Columbus Dispatch reported March 10.

These types of deals have been gaining traction in commercial renewable energy applications and have been used for residential energy efficiency upgrade projects for years.

"The idea is that it’s a wash in terms of this new debt because you should be reducing your energy costs by what we hope is a like amount,” Jean Carter Ryan, the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority’s president told The Columbus Dispatch.

The upgrades should save about $187,000 a year, she added.

Building owner Arthur Goldner & Associates will repay the authority through a special assessment on the property, according to the newspaper. 

Franklin Country is loaning the property owners $400,000, which will be repaid over 15 years at a 4.5 percent interest rate. The remaining funds will come from bonds the finance authority sold, according to the Dispatch article.

“There is an economic development opportunity in providing all of our citizens with a better quality of life. In this particular case, it’s the idea of energy efficiency,” James Schimmer, the county’s economic development director, reportedly said. 

This is an important trend to watch as similar opportunities open up for commercial businesses in other cities around the country.

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