New, January 2014: City of Charlottesville businesses can access the City of Charlottesville Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program!
The buildings in which we live, work, play, learn and worship consume almost half of the energy produced in the US – more than transportation or industrial activities. And if you happen to own or manage one of those larger commercial properties – a school, church or office building – that’s a statistic you grapple with daily.
Whether it’s a law office, retail shop or restaurant, operating and maintaining your building add a chunk to the cost of doing businesses. Not surprisingly, many commercial property owners are interested in cost effective ways to lower their ongoing operational expenses – such as energy and water bills. Money saved on energy bills can be used to offset financing for improvements such that over time, the improvements pay for themselves. From that point forward, the business has just increased its positive cash flow.
LEAP will walk-through your facility and provide a “light energy review” providing ideas where the building is obviously loosing energy. As a part of this service, LEAP can visit your business, non-profit, or congregation and give a presentation on energy savings opportunities not only in your work space, but at home as well. We can conduct an interactive treasure hunt with staff, looking for the “biggest losers” in terms of energy consumption and then offer some tips and energy efficiency solutions.
Ideally as a part of the Energy Review described above, LEAP will work with you to collect information needed to compare your building’s energy use to others that are similar in size and scope (office, retail, church, school, etc.). We use EPA’s Portfolio Manager software to provide you with an energy score to help you understand if you are wasting a little or a lot of money unnecessarily to energy costs.
Energy upgrades for an office building, retail shop or restaurant are far more expansive and complex than those for the average home. Thus, LEAP works with a select group of specialized contractors and engineers for commercial property energy assessments and upgrades.
In central Virginia we currently work with Albemarle Heating and Air and Colonial Webb, both selected through a competitive process. They have engineers on staff or as part of their team to perform cost effective energy assessments for commercial buildings – regardless of the size or complexity of those buildings.
We are currently in the RFP process for contractors in northern Virginia. Download the RFQ here: RFQ FOR CONTRACTORS 2013
What can these contractors offer your business?
Scoping or Investment Grade Energy Assessment
For those property owners who are ready to have their building inspected by a professional, LEAP has pre-qualified local contractors who can perform these services for you. This more comprehensive assessment will inform a work scope and bid for improvements.
Installation of Improvements
Energy improvement measures may include commissioning, air sealing, insulation, HVAC upgrades, lighting improvements and more. LEAP will work with you and your contractor to make sure you take advantage of any available tax credits or rebates for which you are eligible. They can also offer retro-commissioning services (making sure the building’s systems are actually performing as intended to) and fix them if they are not. If a building owner is interested in having a walk through assessment done of their building, these companies will also provide that.
Financing is often a hurdle for property owners considering energy efficiency improvement. Many tools and information resources are available to help decision makers analyze their financial investments, and the LEAP team is here to assist with business’ financing needs.
New, January 2014: City of Charlottesville businesses can access the City of Charlottesville Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program! Loans are available through UVA Community Credit Union as part of a program administered by LEAP and made possible by a City of Charlottesville grant.
At the Federal level, Energy Star provides a number of great resources to evaluate the financing behind your energy efficiency project. At the local and state level, the database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficieny (DSIRE) provides a comprehensive listing of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency. One such policy that is gaining traction as an effective financing tool is Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). This legislation helps building owners pay for the upfront costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy project which the owner then pays back through an increase in property tax over the course of about 20 years. This allows property owners to use the energy savings to pay for the efficiency improvements over time.