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A commitment to saving energy: The Kroger Company and Melink Corporation

The reasons that motivate an organization to pursue energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements are often as diverse as the organizations themselves. Recently, Energy Alliance staff spent a day visiting two very different organizations that have made a commitment to saving energy: the Kroger Company and Melink Corporation.

The Kroger Company:

Kroger grocery stores consumes large amounts of energy to power everything from lighting and refrigeration to air conditioning and electronic equipment. With over 2,600 stores across the country, any energy savings Kroger can produce in each store results in a substantial positive financial impact for the company.

To witness their efforts first hand, we visited the Branchhill-Guinea Pike store in Loveland, which serves as one of Kroger’s testing facilities for energy efficiency measures. We were given a thorough tour of the facility by Denis George (Kroger Corporate Energy Manager), Ryan Stuckenberg (Kroger Energy Engineer), and Andrew Finton (Kroger Energy Co-Op and former Energy Alliance staff member). We were taken almost everywhere in the store, from the sales floor to freezer rooms to mechanical rooms. We learned about how Kroger uses skylights to reduce the amount of lighting needed in stores and how improvements in their refrigeration and monitoring systems have improved their bottom line. We even climbed up to the roof to view their rooftop solar arrays.

For Kroger, the decision to invest in energy efficiency was a practical business decision that has resulted in a 35% reduction in energy consumption.

The Melink Corporation:

The Energy Alliance also visited the Melink Corporation, located near Milford. Melink’s mission is to “provide clean energy solutions that help its customers become strategically competitive, and to inspire them by its example“. Melink is led by a proactive CEO, Steve Melink, who not only provides sustainable energy solutions as a service, but uses his own organization to lead the way.

Our visit was spent touring Melink’s solar canopies, electric car charging stations, solar thermal water heating system, interactive energy production display, geothermal installation, and their admittedly low-performing wind turbine. The organization encourages its employees to actively participate in reducing their energy consumption, and its CEO leads the charge.

Sustainable energy is their service, but it is also their lifestyle. Melink saves energy and is fueled by their positive impact on their community.

Many thanks to the Kroger Company and Melink Corporation for spending time with us to get a deeper understanding of their energy saving initiatives.

Here’s a few photos from our visits:

 

 

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Clean Energy Finance Roundtable Event

DOE and the Energy Alliance host the Clean Energy Finance Roundtable

Advancing Clean Energy Finance Across the Board

On October 1st, national experts from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other organizations came together in Cincinnati to highlight best practice approaches to advance clean energy financing in both Ohio and Kentucky. The event focused on residential and commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy markets. Participants had an opportunity to learn about:

  • Residential energy efficiency lending programs in Ohio and Kentucky
  • Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in Ohio and Kentucky
  • Local and national Green Bank initiatives
  • Several innovative efforts to advance clean energy finance in the region

Highlighting Efforts Nationally, Locally, and Between

Over 130 people representing the banking, energy contracting, public finance, local and state government, economic development, and real estate management sectors participated in the roundtable.

The event featured a keynote address by John MacWilliams, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, who provided an overview of federal government initiatives that are helping to scale clean energy financing across the country.

One highlight of the day came when 15 local professionals had an opportunity to share their work in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. During the discussion participants learned about projects including:

  • City of Cincinnati’s effort to incorporate renewable energy projects as part of its “Green Cincinnati Plan”
  • The first completed project under the local GC-PACE program
  • OKI’s work through the Department of Energy’s “SunShot” initiative to promote scaling of solar projects by reducing soft costs and increasing the efficiency of the zoning and permitting processes
  • Macy’s initiative to significantly reducing energy use in its stores through an innovative LED lighting solution developed by Middletown-based HP Energy
  • The Cincinnati Zoo’s large solar parking lot canopy project.

The event was the first of what will be a series of discussions surrounding clean energy financing and the benefits that it can provide our region. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Energy Alliance.

 

 

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Nationwide Solarize Programs – Video

Solarize Programs are a nation-wide resource that connects homeowners, installers, manufacturers, and communities to make Solar Energy less costly and easier to get.

This video from the U.S. Department of Energy relays:

  • How Solarize programs work
  • Homeowner Benefits
  • Benefits for Communities

 

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Clean Energy Finance Roundtable

Minds Come Together to Empower Clean Energy Financing

On October 1st, the Energy Alliance and the U.S. Department of Energy co-hosted the Clean Energy Finance Roundtable.

A diverse set of over 130 local professionals heard from national and local experts about the current state of clean energy finance and the benefits it can provide to our region. The event helped to energize participants and laid the foundation for what we hope will be a series of discussions surrounding clean energy financing.

Here’s some images we captured of the event and all the great participants.

 

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Clean Energy Finance Roundtable

Join us for the Clean Energy Finance Roundtable: October 1, 2014

National experts from DOE and other organizations will come together to highlight best practice approaches to help advance clean energy financing in the region and local market. The event will focus on residential and commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy markets. Topics will include unsecured residential lending, PACE Financing, solar tax equity, and more.

The event presents a great opportunity for banks, energy professionals, public finance advisors, contractors, elected leaders at all levels of government, economic development professionals, and others to learn more about clean energy financing.

We hope you can join us!

When
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Where
Champions Club, Great American Ballpark
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202

RSVP required.

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Please contact the Energy Alliance at 513-621-4232 or Michelle Wyman, DOE Intergovernmental Affairs Director, at 202-287-5980 with any questions about the event.

Agenda

8:30-9:00am – Check-in and Registration

9:00-9:30am – Welcome and Opening Remarks
City of Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann will welcome us to Cincinnati. DOE and Energy Alliance staff will brief us on the day’s sessions.

9:30-10:30 – The Evolution of Residential Energy Efficiency Lending
Market leaders from AFC First and Renewable Funding will lead us in a discussion around how new asset classes for residential unsecured lending have recently been developed and where opportunities exist for additional public and private investment. Representatives from the Kentucky Home Performance program and the Energy Alliance will talk about how this region has embraced this model and efforts underway to grow the market.

10:30-10:45 – Break

10:45-12:00 – Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
National thought leaders David Gabrielson and George Caraghiaur from PACENow and Vic Rojas Environmental Defense Fund will discuss the hundreds of millions of dollars that has entered the PACE market across the country and how some of the most advanced markets are seeing significant private sector growth. A leader from the Environmental Defense Fund will discuss the Investor Confidence Project will also be discussed, which has developed a framework of underwriting standards to be used to enable private market investors to see consistency in the structure of deals across different PACE programs throughout the 31 states that have advanced the effort. Lastly, we’ll discuss the building momentum behind the GC-PACE program locally and complimentary efforts to advance PACE throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

12:00-1:30 – Lunch and Keynote Address
Enjoy your complimentary box lunch while John MacWilliams, U.S. Department of Energy Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Finance, shares perspective on the significant developments in clean energy finance across the country.

1:30-2:30 – Green Banks and Public/Private Partnerships to Scale Clean Energy Finance
Jeffrey Schub, VP of Coalition for Green Capital, and Jason Rittenberg, Director of Research and Advisory Services at the Council of Development Finance Agencies, will discuss successful public/private models for increasing access to capital in clean energy finance, and how many states and regions are moving toward long-term sustainable solutions through the development of Green Banks.

2:30-3:30 – Speed Round: “I had no idea our region has so much going on!”
Hear from 20 local professionals for less than 5 minutes each that have recently completed successful projects that advance clean energy finance, and/or are involved in new initiatives to move us forward. You’ll leave this session with an enhanced appreciation for all we have going on, and new ways to get involved to continue the advancement.

3:30-4:00 – Wrap-up
Concluding thoughts and how we carry forward the growth of the clean energy finance market in Greater Cincinnati.

4:00-5:30 – Networking Reception
Stick around the Champions Club to follow-up with colleagues on how to advance our collective effort, and enjoy the cash bar and all the stadium has to offer.

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MIke Robinson Talking with Homeowners

Last Call for the City of Cincinnati Incentive

Here’s Mike Robinson, Building Analyst and our Quality Assurance Manager talking with homeowners and spreading the message:

Up to $750 in incentive money from the City of Cincinnati for residents making energy efficiency improvements! Pair that with up to $500 from the Duke Energy Smart Saver program, and you have a sizable incentive to further increase your comfort at home and reduce spending on utility bills.

If you’ve had an assessment previously with our Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program, we will conduct a free home visit to reassess your report, and develop a new proposal.

This limited time offer ends on September 30, 2014!

 

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