Partnering up to improve electrical efficiency

clinton global initiative electrical efficiency

How can firms be encouraged to take on projects that will render their activities more energy efficient? Several not-for-profit organizations are leading the way in showing the cost-saving benefits of re-thinking energy solutions. Furthermore, these organizations have serious clout. One is led by a celebrity billionaire entrepreneur. Another fronted by a former US president.

Carbon War Room

Take the Carbon War Room for instance. The charity was founded by British businessman Sir Richard Branson, famed for creating the Virgin brand. Its aim is to harness entrepreneurial power to address climate change, facilitating the flow of capital to projects that “make economic sense.”

Earlier this month the Carbon War Room entered into a partnership with private sector cohorts to invest $650 million in retrofitting green building technology. The PACE Commercial Consortium, led by the Ygrene Energy Fund, and also comprising technology group Lockheed Martin, Barclays Capital and insurers Energi and HannoverRe, is set to take on $550 million of green retrofits in Miami-Dade County in Florida, in addition to a further $100 million-worth of such projects in Sacramento, California.

In addition to the obvious savings in energy costs, the consortium has said the funding could generate $2.3 billion of economic activity in the areas covered, as well as 17,000 jobs. Furthermore, the investments are purely from private capital, as Energi Insurance Services CEO Brian McCarthy explains:

“There is no government debt or cost involved. The markets can supply this financing because the economics are sound, engineering performance is insured, the security is strong, and clean energy capital assets are profitable.”

Clinton Global Initiative

Then there is the Clinton Global Initiative. The charity, led by former US president Bill Clinton, has just launched a similar partnership. The organization has formed a three-year arrangement with Goldman Sachs, the Greenprint Foundation, Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle, Malkin Holdings LLC, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Vornado Realty Trust and YR&G.

This partnership will see assistance given to tenants who are signing or renewing leases in incorporating energy efficiency aspects in the premises, including lighting, air distribution and energy management systems.

The Clinton Global Initiative has a track record at stimulating large-scale energy efficiency measures. It had a hand in the $20 million retrofit, managed by Jones Lang LaSalle, of the Empire State Building that was completed earlier this year. The retrofit has reduced the building’s energy consumption by over 38 percent, and is set to reduce its carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. The retrofit, which included the use of iWindow technology to improve thermal performance, was so successful it was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.

Both these partnerships go to show that if firms are reluctant to take the plunge in implementing energy efficiency measures, not-for-profit organizations can lend a helping hand. And the savings could be significant: according to McKinsey & Company, these improvements could save the building sector up to $33 billion a year by 2030.

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