Remaking office buildings with energy-efficient equipment can cut utility bills and give some green cred. But often, building owners don’t want to pay the large upfront cost. To help fix this problem, Serious Energy is launching a no-money-down program called SeriousCapital.
It’s a cliché you inevitably hear in any discussion about building energy efficiency retrofits: It’s the “low-hanging fruit” of cleantech. But the market hasn’t taken off quickly, and good money to be made will come from the commercial, rather than the residential, market.
Metrus Energy, a startup seeking to popularize a power purchase agreement-like model for investing in building energy efficiency projects, has landed its first contract. The “efficiency services agreement” announced Friday calls for military contractor BAE Systems to upgrade its Merrimack, N.H. manufacturing facility’s energy efficiency with Siemens doing the upgrades and Bank of America (s BAC) doing the financing.
Bob Hinkle, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Metrus, says the $1 million project is the first of multiple projects for BAE that his company wants to own and manage. Under the ESA, BAE pays only for a fraction of each “avoided unit of realized energy savings,” he says, with Siemens, BofA and Metrus collecting an additional fraction of the savings. That means BAE doesn’t have to pay anything up front, which removes the conflict between spending on energy efficiency versus other projects — a big barrier to spending on better efficiency for the private sector.
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