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Facility managers have energy efficiency projects they would love to pursue. And investors have available capital and are interested in investing in energy efficiency projects. But getting those two ends to meet can be a challenge. However, efforts from the U.S. Department of Energy and others are working to make finding a match for your project a little bit easier, through tools such as the Better Buildings Financing Navigator.
Within energy efficiency financing, there are the traditional avenues such as loans, but it's hard for smaller projects to find financing that way. Other available options are on-bill financing through the utility, PACE (property assessed clean energy), or savings-backed arrangements such as energy performance contracts and energy services agreements.
The Better Buildings Financing Navigator helps facility managers sort through available financing options, according to Joseph Indrik, senior consultant at JDM Associates. The tool helps match projects with service and financing "allies" who have committed to funding energy efficiency projects, he said during a presentation entitled "Navigating Energy Efficiency Financing: Understand the Market and Find Financing That Works for You" at this year's BOMA conference, which he presented along with Brenna Walraven, president and CEO of Corporate Sustainability Strategies. The Better Buildings Financing Navigator breaks down options into a tree, with easy-to-navigate explanations of the pros and cons of each option.
Many utilities and agencies also make resources available to facility managers to help navigate financing options, says Walraven. She said another option to fund energy efficiency projects would be to set up an internal fund. This could take the form of an annual "capital reserve" fund within the annual Opex budget, an internal green fund pulled from untapped capital, or a seed fund captured from savings generated by a modest energy retrofit, Walraven suggests.
This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management. You can reach her at email@example.com. For more information on how to address funding challenges, check out www.facilitiesnet.com/16287bom.