Category Archives: Economics

Keeping “PACE” with Energy Efficiency Upgrades

PACEfinancingClay summarizes the current status of the PACE program, its program benefits to the property owners, and the Prologis case study that closed in San Francisco in November, 2012.

Johnson Control’s Clay Nesler unveils how PACE financing can help commercial property owners defer upfront costs in seeking to install energy efficiency building upgrades. Click here to see the video presentation.

In his role as vice president of Global Energy and Sustainability for Johnson Controls, Clay Nesler leads a worldwide team responsible for coordinating marketing, legislative affairs, resource management, product/service innovation and energy program management. Nesler’s responsibilities also include leading a professional services organization that develops collaborative planning tools and provides consulting services to Johnson Controls customers and third-party clients on a global basis.

Since joining Johnson Controls in 1983, he has held a variety of leadership positions in technology, new product development and marketing in both the United States and Europe. Nesler received his bachelor’s of science and master’s of science degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is listed as a co-inventor on 10 patents.

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SoCal Gas Energy Resource Center Seminars


The Energy Resource Center in Downey, California is an energy efficient resource for making environmentally-preferable decisions. The facility is 44,572 square feet and earned LEED certification at the certified level in 2009. As a showcase building for environmental and energy efficiency, the Energy Resource Center is pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance recertification at the Gold level.

Want to learn about the latest in energy-efficient equipment and technologies? Attend technical and foodservice-related seminars at Southern California Gas’ LEED® Certified Energy Resource Center (ERC) in Downey, CA.

ERC at a Glance

This resource center for energy and environmental decision-makers opened in the spring of 1995 in Downey, California, the heart of the Greater Los Angeles and Orange County metropolitan areas. The building is an award-winning model of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly technologies. And an array of practical seminars, demonstrations and consulting services can help businesses find the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to their energy needs.

A visit to the Energy Resource Center can expedite your search for new equipment, while ensuring you have the information you need to make wise choices. And, there’s never a charge for equipment demonstrations.

Seminar Schedule & Enrollment

Seminars like these are just part of our commitment to providing exceptional service.

  1. Sign Up for Technical Seminars

  2. Sign Up for Building Operator Certification Seminars

  3. Sign Up for Food Service Equipment Center Seminars

  4. Seminar Terms & Conditions

Food Service Equipment Center

The Food Service Equipment Center showcases the right equipment to spice up your bottom line.

  1. Call 562-803-7323 to schedule a visit.

  2. Sign up for Foodservice Seminars

  3. Seminar Terms & Conditions

Exhibiting and Speaking Opportunities

Exhibit and/or speaking opportunities exist for many Energy Resource Center (ERC) and Food Service Equipment Center (FSEC) seminars and displays.

  1. Email the Energy Resource Center at

  2. Email the Food Service Equipment Center at

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CCC/IOU Energy Efficiency Partnership

The Energy Efficiency Retrofit element of the program involves implementation of energy efficiency retrofit projects providing cost-effective energy savings during the program implementation period.

The California Community Colleges (CCC), and Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) Energy Efficiency Partnership is a unique, statewide energy efficiency program achieving cost-effective immediate and persistent peak energy and demand savings. Moreover, it establishes a permanent framework for a sustainable, long-term, comprehensive energy management program at the one hundred and twelve (112) campuses served by California’s four large IOUs (PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and SoCalGas).

Established in the 2006-08 CPUC Energy Efficiency Program Cycle, the CCC/IOU Partnership set ambitious goals of saving 19,000 kW,  84 million kilowatt-hours, and 2.5 million therms of gas by the end of the cycle.  To achieve these goals, the Partnership is committing $22 million in incentive funds to Community College Districts to assist in the accomplishment of energy partners.

The program employs four key strategies to meet its goals: energy efficiency retrofits, monitoring based commissioning (MBCx), energy efficient new construction, and training and education. This multifaceted approach delivers comprehensive savings, and contributes to California’s national leadership in energy efficiency and reducing climate change.

The Partnership capitalizes on the vast resources and expertise of the California Community Colleges and California’s IOUs with program administration assistance from Newcomb Anderson McCormick of San Francisco.  It is funded by California’s investor owned utility customers through Public Goods Charges (PGC) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.


The University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) Energy Efficiency Partnership is a unique, statewide energy efficiency program achieving cost-effective immediate and persistent peak energy and demand savings. Moreover, it establishes a permanent framework for a sustainable, long-term, comprehensive energy management program at the thirty three (33) UC and CSU campuses served by California’s four large IOUs (PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and SoCalGas).

Established in 2004-05, the UC/CSU/IOU Partnership significantly exceeded its goals, saving approximately 32 million kilowatt-hours and 1.5 million therms of gas. Peak demand savings were also targeted and achieved. As a result of this success, the program was renewed for 2006-08, and again for the 2009-2012 program cycle. Funding levels for the renewed program more than doubled on an annual basis, and energy savings goals increased approximately four-fold.

The program employs four key strategies to meet its goals: energy efficiency retrofits, monitoring based commissioning (MBCx), emerging technology demonstrations, and training and education. This multifaceted approach delivers comprehensive savings, fulfills key elements in UC and CSU sustainability policies, and contributes to California’s national leadership in energy efficiency and climate change.

The Partnership capitalizes on the vast resources and expertise of the University of California, California State University, and California’s IOUs with program administration assistance from Newcomb Anderson McCormick of San Francisco.  It is funded by California’s investor owned utility customers through Public Goods Charges (PGC) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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GSA Challenges ESCOs to Retrofit to Net Zero

BuildingEEPerformanceEnergy service companies (ESCOs) have provided billions of dollars worth of energy savings through building retrofits — and inspired even the most reluctant clients to seek out energy efficiency. Yet certain building owners can achieve far greater energy and cost savings through the adoption of deep energy retrofits. – Illustration by Lisa Haney

Roy Torbert  Rocky Mountain Institute Analyst (Buildings)

ESCOs have often maintained that they would deliver deeper energy savings — if only clients would demand them. Well guess what? The General Services Administration (GSA), the largest owner of commercial real estate in the U.S., is poised to use energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) for deep savings in selected buildings. These ESPCs require little to no up-front capital from the government, as the energy savings will cover costs of the efficiency improvements. Federal projects typically save 15-25 percent of baseline energy use. GSA, like many other federal clients, is now required to meet dramatic energy savings goals specified by the Energy and Security Act of 2007 and President Obama’s Executive Order 13514. According to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, “The president challenged government to lead by example in environmental, energy and economic performance. Now GSA is challenging the private sector to partner with us to go above and beyond what has been done before in federal building renovations.”

The new GSA Net Zero Renovation Challenge calls upon the 16 ESCOs pre-qualified for federal buildings to develop innovative, broadly applicable and aggressively energy-saving retrofit plans. Each project will not only aim for deeper savings, but also create a plan to reach net zero energy in the building, to assist GSA in developing long-term solutions for its entire portfolio.

The recently released report from the GSA Net Zero Renovation Challenge Charrette, hosted by Rocky Mountain Institute, details how GSA will work with ESCOs to improve the process of attaining deep savings using 30-35 GSA-owned office buildings. Check out the report to learn how both federal agencies and the major ESCOs will modify their approach to catalyze profitable retrofits with unprecedented savings in federal buildings.


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World Economic Forum: Catalyzing Retrofit Finance and Investing in Commercial Real Estate


 This report  is the product of the Retrofit Finance & Investing Project, a cross-industry, multi-stakeholder initiative of the World Economic Forum launched in 2010.

The report equips policy-makers and industry leaders with the information and tools needed to build and scale retrofit markets around the world. It highlights the business potential waiting to be tapped by multiple industries and underscores the acute importance for government leaders to take action now: to ensure a resource-secure, low-carbon future and to benefit from the economic and job creation potential that retrofitting promises. It calls to action the range of existing and potential stakeholders to fully and jointly participate in growing a healthy retrofit market, including government, financial service institutions, investors, property owners, utilities, equipment manufacturers, energy service companies and other related industries. Finally, it provides industry-specific recommendations to enable their participation.

The U.S. potential is reported by C40 Cities…

$400 billion market potential in building retrofit market

A new study from the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that retrofitting commercial buildings could represent a $400 billion market in the U.S. alone. Citing C40’s own study with the Carbon Disclosure Project, WEF says:

“Any successful approach to combating climate change must include commercial buildings, which are responsible for approximately 30% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and, in some countries, 70% of electrical consumption. Nearly one-half of all energy consumed by buildings could be avoided with new energy-efficient systems and equipment, and the energy savings would exceed the cost of upgrades, generally within five years or less.”

The report also found that governments are “the single greatest catalyst” for a thriving retrofit market, a conclusion supported both by C40’s research with Arup showing that mayors from C40 Cities have strong powers in this sector – and by action on the ground across the C40 network.

Earlier this month, C40, CCI and Los Angeles announced the city’s launch of a major effort to spur commercial retrofits through a new program offering both technical and financing support; the program is a participant in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. A similarprogram has also been created by Melbourne. Chicago is serving to catalyze the city’s retrofit market by targeting an iconic government building; while in Mumbai, it is a commercial real estate giant who is a first mover. In June, Houston Mayor Annise Parker made C40 proud by winning  the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Award for the city’s green building leadership in the public and private sectors.


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PACE Financing in Los Angeles County

 PACEinLA As part of Energy Upgrade California, owners of non-residential commercial properties in Los Angeles County have access to an innovative financing mechanism to fund up to 100% of the cost of building performance upgrades—Property Assessed Clean Energy (or PACE) financing. 

Investment in energy and water efficiency is an intelligent business decision. Building performance upgrades bring multiple benefits:

  1. Lower operating costs

  2. Improve occupants’ comfort

  3. Hedge against utility price increases

  4. Reduce negative exposure to possible regulation

  5. Help the environment

  6. Boost property values

  1. Funding for up to 100% of installed project costs

  2. Lower financing rates than other products in the market

  3. Longer financing terms than would otherwise be possible

  4. Enables projects to be cash flow positive in Year 1

  5. May allow for favorable accounting treatment

  6. Allows for equitable sharing of costs and savings with current tenants, and future owners

What is PACE Financing?

For more information visit

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McKinsey & Co.: Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy

ElectricBulbHandsIn this report, McKinsey offers a detailed analysis of the magnitude of the efficiency potential in non-transportation uses of energy, a thorough assessment of the barriers that impede the capture of greater efficiency, and an outline of the practical solutions available to unlock the potential.

The research shows that the US economy has the potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by roughly 23 percent by 2020, eliminating more than $1.2 trillion in waste—well beyond the $520 billion upfront investment (not including program costs) that would be required. The reduction in energy use would also result in the abatement of 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse-gas emissions annually—the equivalent of taking the entire US fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.

Such energy savings will be possible, however, only if the United States can overcome significant sets of barriers. These barriers are widespread and persistent, and will require an integrated set of solutions to overcome them—including information and education, incentives and financing, codes and standards, and deployment resources well beyond current levels.

In addition to the above central conclusion, five observations will be relevant to a national debate about how best to pursue energy efficiency opportunities of the magnitude identified and within the timeframe considered in this report. Specifically, an overarching strategy would need to:

  1. Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources

  2. Formulate and launch at both national and regional levels an integrated portfolio of proven, piloted, and emerging approaches to unlock the full potential of energy efficiency

  3. Identify methods to provide the significant upfront funding required by any plan to capture energy efficiency

  4. Forge greater alignment between utilities, regulators, government agencies, manufacturers, and energy consumers

  5. Foster innovation in the development and deployment of next-generation energy-efficiency technologies to ensure ongoing productivity gains

Read executive summary (PDF–1.52 MB)
Read full report (PDF–6.37 MB)
Launch interactive
EPRI and McKinsey reports on energy efficiency: A comparison (PDF–120 KB)

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CEC Report: Renewable Power in California: Status and Issues


The PIER Program has provided roughly $179 million in R&D funding for a wide variety of activities in support of California’s renewable energy goals. These investments are not limited to basic research – more than half of PIER renewable funding awarded between 2004 and 2010 was for technology demonstrations.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced release of the Lead Commissioner Report on “Renewable Power in California: Status and Issues” (CEC-150-2011-002-LCF-REV1). The report is accessible from the Docket #11-IEP-1 web page, which lists documents for the 2011 integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) Proceeding.

The report provides a thorough summary and comparison of the various types and applications of renewable energy in the state and offers projections regarding both the potential increase for each type and the relationship to California’s renewable energy goals. For example: Biomass electrical generation capacity in place is reported as 1,553 megawatts electric (MWe), less than one half of the 3,820 MWe estimated as technically available.

The report first analyzes a broad sweep of critical issues surrounding and barriers to increased renewable energy development, then provides a set of five key recommendations to meet the challenges:

  1. Identify and prioritize areas for both utility-scale and distributed energy;
  2. Evaluate current project burdens beyond technical costs;
  3. Minimize interconnection costs and requirements;
  4. Promote and incentivize in-state technology and project development,
  5. Promote and coordinate existing state and federal financing and incentive programs for critical stages including research, development, and demonstration; pre-commercialization and deployment.

The report is seen as the first step in strategic plan development in 2012 and complements the upcoming 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update, which the CEC will consider for adoption at its January 12, 2012 meeting.

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USGBC: Paid-From-Savings Guide to Green Existing Buidlings

Paid from Savings Guide

The best candidates for the paid-from-savings approach are buildings with inefficient or outdated building systems in which upgrades will generate significant cost savings. To achieve LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M certification, these systems must also meet energy-efficiency and performance-period requirements designated in the rating system. LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M certified buildings also implement O&M best practices and sustainable policies.

Executive Summary PDF

The paid-from-savings approach is a financing strategy to green existing buildings. It leverages the savings generated from building system upgrades to pay for a comprehensive greening project within a defined pay-back period. Paid-from-savings projects can use a variety of financing methods including:

• Self-financing,

• tax-exempt lease-purchase agreements for qualifying entities,

• power purchase agreements for renewable energy projects,

• performance contracts for larger projects,

• equipment finance agreements, and

commercial loans or bond financing for qualifying entities.

In many cases, successful projects employ a combination of these options, along with supplemental funding, such as revolving loan funds, utility rebates, and renewable energy grants, as well as funds from the organization’s capital and operating budgets.

They include such items as:

• replacing the boiler,

• replacing the chiller,

• upgrading lighting systems,

• installing a building automation system (BAS), and

• replacing water fixtures.

Owners can achieve their desired return on investment (ROI) and lessen the overall project pay-back period by “bundling” the longer pay-back measures with the quicker pay-back measures to create a project with a shorter overall pay-back period and a higher ROI.

Under a performance contract, an energy services company (ESCO) acts as the project developer and assumes the technical and performance risk associated with the project, including guaranteeing the cost savings generated from the system upgrades for a specified period of time. If the savings guarantee is not met, the ESCO pays the owner the difference. The guarantee is unique to performance contracting and not typical of other paid-from-savings approaches.

To determine the savings that can be guaranteed, the ESCO will conduct an investment-grade energy audit, which provides the basis for calculating the guarantee and creating the project development plan. The audit also serves as the foundation for developing the measurement and verification (M&V) plan, which outlines the specific methods and calculations to ensure the expected savings are realized.

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Top Ten Green Building Megatrends for 2012

BldgMegatrendsCountries with Established Green Building Rating Systems

Yudelson Associates’ Top Ten Green Building MegaTrends include:

  1. Green building in North America will rebound in 2012, using new LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth. The reduction in commercial real estate construction has not been offset by other sectors such as government construction, which continued to falter, and so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010 and 2011. Even so, in 2011, LEED in new construction accounted for about 20% of all put-in-place space, with domestic LEED project registrations up almost 40% vs. depressed 2010 levels. However, Yudelson Associates sees faster growth in green retrofits, and notices that ongoing college and university projects and NGO activity are serving to backstop the fall in commercial and governmental construction. In addition, LEED growth has been and will be rapid in China and other fast-growing economies.
  2. Green building will continue to benefit from the Obama Administration’s strengthened focus on greening the executive branch, with its commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all federal projects and focus on major energy-efficiency renovations.
  3. The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings. One fast-growing LEED rating system the past two years has been LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM), with cumulative floor area in certified projects now greater than in new construction, and I expect this trend to pick up in 2012. Yudelson says, “My book, “Greening Existing Buildings” documents the strategic and tactical components of this trend.” One driver of this MegaTrend is that “‘green’ buildings have rents and asset prices that are significantly higher than those documented for conventional office space,” according to a recent major academic research study on commercial buildings in the U.S. and Europe.
  4. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will increase, leading building designers, owners and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings by using more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new onsite water technologies. Yudelson says, “My recent book, “Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis”  shows how this is being done in green buildings all over the world.
  5. The global green building movement will continue to accelerate, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and developing their own Green Building Councils. More than 90 countries with incipient or established green building organizations, on all continents, will drive considerable green building growth in 2012. Yudelson comments, “We’re seeing strong growth in China, other places in Asia (e.g., Singapore), Brazil, Eastern Europe, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula countries. In 2011, for the first time, nearly as many LEED-registered projects were in progress outside the U.S. as in the U.S., up more than 50% compared to 2010 levels and representing 44% of all new LEED project certifications.” In fact, as one expert noted in a recent report, LEED has registered or certified projects in 131 of the world’s 196 countries, with a total floor area of almost 3-billion sq.ft. When combined with the nearly 1.5-billion sq.ft. registered under LEED India and LEED Canada, it is clear that LEED is the dominant global green building certification brand. See the “Green Building Market and Impact Report 2011.”
  6. Zero-net-energy buildings will become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications and labels have become too commonplace to confer competitive advantage among building owners. Developers of speculative commercial buildings will also begin to showcase Zero Net Energy designs.
  7. Performance Disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California, Seattle and other locations. Commercial building owners will have to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers and in some places, to the public at large. This trend is already established in Australia, for example, and will spread rapidly as the easiest way to monitor reductions in carbon emissions from commercial and governmental buildings.
  8. Green Buildings will increasingly be managed in the “Cloud”, as witnessed by the large number of new entrants and new products in fields of building automation, facility management, wireless controls and information management in 2011.
  9. Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector. We’ll see at least 20 new cities with commercial sector green building mandates, mostly in the “Blue” states. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies, universities, hospitals and corporate owners to require green buildings from design and construction teams.
  10. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow with the prospect of increasing utility focus on aggressive state-level renewable power standards (RPS) for 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems such as on warehouses and big box retail stores. However, we will see fewer very large solar and wind systems, as federal grant and loan guarantee support begins to be phased out.
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