The second seminar in the OakGreen County Sustainable Communities series took place Tuesday, July 6, 2010, and was presented by Johnson Controls.
The seminar brought a number of individuals from the community together to learn about green financing resources and pending legislation in Michigan.
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader that serves customers in more than 150 countries. Its 130,000 employees aim to create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies in buildings, according to the company.
Present to kick off the discussions was Sandra Nelson, who is a service sales manager for the company. Nelson is responsible for the service sales in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston and Washtenaw counties, and she noted that 35 percent of carbon emissions and energy use come from buildings.
Michigan Public Sector Sales Manager Todd Pfahl then gave a presentation on bonds and grants available in the state of Michigan that can be used for large capital projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption in buildings.
He discussed many American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) bonds, such as Build America Bonds (BABs), Qualified Schools Construction Bonds (QSCBs), Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs), and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs).
Perhaps the most commonly used word of the day was “leverage.” Both Nelson and Pfahl made it clear that even though bonds and grants help with financing, if people are able to leverage their stimulus dollars, they will be able to complete projects worth more than the amount they were granted in the first place. One way to do this is with performance contracting.
“Performance contracting is a tool that allows you to leverage the savings you get from making building improvements in order to pay for the improvements,” Pfahl said. When this type of contracting is used, the cost will result in net zero for the improvements.
The remainder of the session centered on two pending bills in Michigan’s Congress. Senate Bill No. 3079 would assist in the creation of new jobs by providing financial incentives for owners of commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings to retrofit their buildings with equipment that is energy efficient. House Bill No. 5019 would provide for the establishment of the Home Star Retrofit Rebate Program. For more information on the progress of these bills, visit GovTrack.us.
For owners who want to find out how to finance a green building, Johnson Controls offers a Red, White and Blue Opportunity Calculator, which projects energy savings, identifies potential ARRA funding sources and estimates impacts on the environment on the economy.
The next OakGreen seminar will take place Aug 3, 2010, at the OakGreen Executive Office Building in Waterford, Michigan.
Author: Jennifer Griffin