Learn All About Solar Energy at Our Solarize Workshop

Solar energy has been a huge buzzword across the US for the past 10 years, and it all can seem a bit overwhelming. With all of the advances in technology, it has been hard to keep up with the world of solar energy. We at the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance have been working hard to make solar energy easily accessible for everyone in the Ohio/Kentucky tristate area. One way that we have tried to make solar energy easy to understand is by offering free Solarize Workshops. Read more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PACE Financing for Hotel Owners Event July 11th

Hotel ownership and maintenance can be a daunting prospect, one where looking dated and having inefficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems can cost you thousands every month. Update your hotel with a financing program that features a fixed rate, no down payment, extended terms, and more.

Join OHIO PACE for a free workshop at the Ramada Plaza in Sharonville on Wednesday, July 11th from 6-8 PM to learn how we can help get your hotel updated in the most cost-efficient way. Read more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Solarize: What You Need to Know

Switching to clean energy is one of the world’s biggest challenges right now, as the impact of fossil fuels on our economy and our well-being becomes increasingly pronounced. But this kind of massive shift cannot occur overnight, and requires the participation of everyday consumers as well as large-scale enterprises and government-backed entities in order to succeed. Read more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Kids First Sports Center Finds Success with PACE Financing

An exterior photo of the Kids First Sports Center.

Energy Project Financing:

  • Project Total: $656,000
  • Term: 23 years

Improvements:

  • Solar PV – 150 KW
  • LED Lighting
  • Wall Insulation

The PACE Financing program has already proven itself to be a successful energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative for commercial properties of all kinds, but one of the most notable projects in recent months has been the successful financing of a Solar PV improvement installation for the Kids First Sports Center, a multi-use recreational facility located in Sycamore Township, Ohio. The 108,000-square-foot gymnastics, trampoline, basketball and swimming center was the first commercial property in the state of Ohio to receive PACE funding for electric-generating solar panels.  Read more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Release: Get Efficient Launched in Cincinnati

For immediate release

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance today launched the Get Efficient program, a low-cost way for residents of Cincinnati and other local area communities to improve the region’s overall energy efficiency.

The Get Efficient program offers residents a free, web-enabled, whole-home energy assessment, access to professional energy advisors and extended-term financing for residential energy efficiency upgrades. The program gives homeowners an affordable way to invest in their home, resulting in decreased energy consumption, lower utility costs, and increased property values.

“Our city continues to demonstrate its position as a national leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, and the Get Efficient program is a shining example of the impact local governments can have by enabling private investment in energy efficiency,” Mayor Cranley said.

“Homeowners consistently rate energy efficiency as one of their top requirements when considering a new home purchase, and the City of Cincinnati is going to support our residents in making their homes energy efficient,” he said.

Mayor Cranley was joined by Jerry Schmits, President and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA), in announcing the Get Efficient Program during a Monday morning press conference on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall.

“This program is just another example of the City of Cincinnati’s commitment to making our region a great place to work, live and raise a family affordably,” Schmits said. “I applaud the Mayor, City Manager and the Office of Environment & Sustainability for recognizing the role they play in enabling programs such as this which ultimately helps attract and retain the strong workforce necessary to keep our region competitive.”

Get Efficient works like this:

  • Using a Smartphone or other device, users engage in a whole-home energy assessment by completing a brief web-enabled survey
  • The homeowner sees immediate results with potential savings and recommendations for energy efficiency upgrades
  • Homeowners have the option to connect directly with a professional energy advisor to discuss the recommended improvements that will have the greatest impact on their home’s energy efficiency and utility costs
  • The energy advisor facilitates contact with  certified contractors to visit the home, determine the best course  of action and generate  price quotes
  • The homeowner is provided with a comprehensive list of improvement costs, associated utility rebates and estimated energy savings
  • Upon homeowner authorization of improvements and selection of financing options, installation is scheduled
  • A Quality Assurance inspection will occur on a portion of all upgrades.
  • The homeowner can finance the improvements and upgrades themselves or through the program’s unique long-term, fixed-rate, unsecured financing

“Today’s homeowners are more aware of the environmental-impact of their lifestyle, and this program makes it easy for them to identify potential efficiency upgrades, connect with qualified contractors and make their homes energy efficient in the most affordable way,” Schmits said

The major benefits of Get Efficient include a low-cost way for homeowners to improve their primary asset while reducing living expenses, upgrading the communities housing stock and creating a more desirable and livable community.

“Over the past several years, our partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has produced great results in reducing residential energy consumption and lowering utility cost for our residents, Mayor Cranley said. “The Get Efficient program will ensure that our region continues to lead by example helping the Cincinnati metro area maintain its position as one of the nation’s most sustainable places to live.”

For more information about Get Efficient, including how  other  local municipalities can make this program available to residents, call 513-562-4831 or visit www.GetEfficient.org.

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit organization facilitating investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for commercial and residential energy consumers throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. In addition to the Get Efficient program, the organization offers residential solar programs and serves as the PACE financing program administrator for several communities in southwest Ohio and throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For more information visit www.greatercea.org, www.ohpace.org, or www.kypace.org.

Contact

Jerry Schmits, President and CEO
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
513.621.4232 ext. 110

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Looking back on 2015. Looking forward to 2016

2015 marked a year of changes in the energy sector. There continued to be a shift away from traditional sources of energy like coal toward natural gas and renewables like solar and wind. The Washington Post identified several factors that made 2015 a transformative year for energy. They include:

• A turn away from coal
• The maturation of wind and solar
• The launch of global and domestic climate policy
• Drastically low oil and natural gas prices

A Mixed Forecast for 2016

Our friends at ACEEE, a national non-profit for energy efficiency, also provided their thoughts on 2015 and what 2016 might hold in store. They see the continued growth of energy efficiency programs at the state and local level as one of the year’s major bright spots. Unfortunately, despite the numerous benefits these programs provide, they continue to face opposition from utilities and political groups.

At the federal level, energy policy is one of the few issues that members on both sides of the aisle can agree. Congress passed some modest energy legislation early in 2015 and an extension of the solar tax credit at the end of the year. Congress will continue to focus on energy issues during 2016 as it works to pass the first comprehensive energy legislation in nearly a decade .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Release: KY-PACE First Project

For immediate release

Covington, KY (December 15, 2015) For the first time in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a local government (City of Covington) has authorized a private property owner (Ivy Knoll Senior Living Community) to use PACE financing for an energy project, according to the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

In March 2015, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear.  The legislation, House Bill 100, authorizes local governments to establish Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPADs), which then allows property owners to use PACE financing to fund energy efficiency upgrades, on-site renewable energy projects and water conservation measures.  Energy projects financed with PACE do not require subsidy or incentive from the local government sponsoring the EPAD.

PACE financing allows private commercial property owners to repay the funds for an eligible energy project via a voluntary special improvement assessment on the property tax bill.  The assessment amount remains fixed for a term of up to 20 years. The special assessment stays with the property when sold or transferred.

The City of Covington worked closely with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to develop the EPAD which allowed the Ivy Knoll Senior Living Community to take advantage of PACE financing.

“According to the national nonprofit PACENow, this is the fastest that an energy project has been approved for PACE financing once a State has passed enabling legislation,” said City of Covington Mayor Sherry Carran.  “The City of Covington is excited to have partnered with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance which allowed Ivy Knoll to improve such an important property within the City of Covington.”

Ivy Knoll found PACE financing to be a perfect funding solution to make significant building improvements of systems that were outdated or extremely energy inefficient. Through these energy upgrades, Ivy Knoll will be able to improve the comfort and convenience for their senior residents while also reducing the building’s energy footprint. Through PACE financing, the Ivy Knoll owners were able to select improvements that had the highest energy savings but also came with the higher upfront costs for the 7-story, all-electric building.  The $750,000 project, funded by Inland Green Capital LLC, includes the following building improvements:

  • Solar Panels – the largest electricity-generating system that is privately-owned in Northern Kentucky will produce over 64,000 kilowatt hours annually,
  • LED Lighting – estimated electricity savings in excess of $12,000 annually,
  • Elevator Modernization – energy efficient technology by Murphy Elevator Company,
  • Heating & Cooling – high efficiency room units with automated controls that allow the building manager to remotely turn off units in vacant rooms.

“PACE financing allowed us to make many of the energy related improvements that we might have otherwise deferred,” said Ray Schneider, the President/CEO of Ivy Knoll.  “We were able to improve the comfort for our senior residents while reducing the building’s energy footprint by approximately 37%.”

Mark Pikus, Senior Vice President of Inland Green Capital states, “We are excited to be a part of this historic PACE transaction in the state of Kentucky. As PACE financing gains traction throughout the country, we look forward to continue working with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and other PACE administrators to provide capital for properties just like Ivy Knoll”.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is currently working with several local governments to make PACE financing available for more property owners within the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.  Additionally, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance provides education and outreach to contractors and property owners who want to learn more about PACE financing.

“We are excited to bring PACE financing to Northern Kentucky,” said Andy Holzhauser, the CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.  “This is a big step forward in that PACE financing allows property owners to reduce their energy consumption with no down payment and with fixed, long term payments via their property tax bill.”

About Ivy Knoll Retirement Community

Ivy Knoll, located in Covington, offers independent living, personal care, and short-term (respite) stays. They offer the most competitive rates along with the largest one-bedroom apartments available in the area. Each day three home-style meals are served table side to residents. A variety of activity offerings ensures an engaging and healthy social experience for residents that promotes friendships and a higher quality of life.

www.ivyknoll.com; Sam Cunningham

About Inland Green Capital LLC

Inland Green Capital LLC is an environmental finance and investment company. It provides capital for PACE project initiatives throughout the country. In addition to our enthusiasm for PACE from a business perspective, Inland is excited to provide leadership in advancing the energy-efficiency and sustainable movement sweeping the country.

www.inlandgreencapital.com; Mark Pikus

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit economic development agency that promotes investment in energy efficiency in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities by providing education, project management, and innovative financing solutions like PACE.

www.greatercea.org/commercial/ky-pace; Chris Jones

Contact

Chris Jones, Client Relations Director
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
513.621.4232 x121 | cjones@greatercea.org

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Energy Efficiency on and International Scale: Egypt

On October 2nd, we had an opportunity to speak with visitors from Egypt about Greater Cincinnati’s successes with energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This was our second presentation to international visitors as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Leadership Program hosted locally by the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council.

Andy Holzhauser, our CEO, and Chris Meyer, our Energy Program Director, spoke about how energy efficiency and renewable energy can be a tool for transformative economic development. Andy and Chris also presented an overview of the Energy Alliance, our programs, and our impact on the region.

An impromptu tour of the basement

“We got to talking about variable frequency motors and most of them had never seen one before. They have them in their country, but they don’t use them. So I said, we have some in the basement, why don’t we go take a look?”
– Chris Meyer

A basement tour isn’t usually a part of the itinerary for our guests, but the day unexpectedly concluded in the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s (GCF) basement to look at the energy efficient variable frequency drives on the HVAC equipment.

Older HVAC motors operate at two speeds, either full on or full off. Newer variable frequency drives offer improved efficiency by attaching a computer ‘brain’ to the motor that allows it to vary its output to the amount of torque required. These drives usually pay for themselves through energy savings after just a few years. Since the group consisted mostly of engineers, they were interested to see a variable frequency drive in action.

 

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council and The International Visitor Leadership Program

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) is an organization whose mission is to be the “leader in preparing the region and its citizens, individually and collectively, to thrive in the 21st century global environment by promoting international understanding, education, engagement, and cooperation.” GCWAC is the local host organization for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

The IVLP was developed to help “current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.” An overview of its 75-year history is summarized in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOqGE-Hbf3g

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email