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2010-2102 Annual Report and 2013 Update

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s 2010-2012 Annual Report, which includes a 2013 Impact Summary, highlights an impressive shift in energy efficiency awareness and investment in our region. 

This shift is a testament to our organizational and overall regional success to establish and develop an energy efficiency economy in the residential and commercial markets.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance was founded in 2009 through a conviction shared by our dedicated team along with private foundations and seven local governments. The concept that inspired collaboration amongst these groups is simple. Energy efficiency is the least expensive yet cleanest fuel source in our economy, and when we invest in energy efficiency, it generates jobs that cannot be outsourced.

This message has compelled thousands of homeowners and hundreds of commercial building owners in the Greater Cincinnati area to take action and make investments in the energy efficiency of their buildings.

Please take a moment to share in this success with us and discover what the next steps in energy efficiency investment for our region will be through our 2010-2012 Annual Report.

 

 

GC-PACE Launched

Energy Alliance and Port Authority launch GC-PACE

As part of its partnership with the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (Port Authority) to develop a suite of energy-related economic development programs, the Energy Alliance announced the launch of the new GC-PACE Program.

GC-PACE is an exciting new tool that can be used to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. This economic development tool is designed to provide commercial and industrial building owners with access to affordable, long-term financing for clean energy improvements to their buildings.

GC-PACE allows building owners to finance efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. The repayment obligation transfers automatically to the next owner if the property is sold. Capital is secured by a priority lien on the property, so long-term debt capital can be raised from the private sector.

For more information, go to gcpace.org.

Energy Alliance Named Nonprofit of the Year!

We are very excited to share some very big news.

The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce has named the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance the Nonprofit Organization of the Year (1-40 employees) for 2013 through the Small Business Excellence Awards. Three years from our founding, we consider this award a great honor, and look forward to continuing to expand our offerings and service area to even better deserve this title.

The Small Business Excellence Awards recognize small businesses that create jobs and boost our local economy, making Cincinnati one of the best places to grow business in the nation.

Commitment to Customer Service

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The Small Business Excellence Award winners are judged upon several criteria. Chief amongst those criteria are an organization’s demonstrated commitment to customer service. At the Energy Alliance, we are especially proud of our organizational commitment to providing personalized support for our residential and commercial customers.
Everyone’s home or facility is a little bit different, as is their schedule, concerns, and needs. We strive to meet those needs, answer questions, and guide all of our customers through the process of the energy assessment, the work scope decision, project management, and the best ways to utilize improved homes and facilities.

“More important than any award we could receive is our ability to change a mindset about energy efficiency.  When we change a mindset, we can change a market, and that’s how we can make a huge impact. We’re grateful for the support we’ve had to date, and have much more work to do!”

Andy Holzhauser CEO, Energy Alliance

Stimulating the Local Economy

The recognition of the Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award is a major milestone for the Energy Alliance. The past three years have been a period of rapid growth and change for us, and we are working every day to help shape the organization’s path of impact to best serve our community and the region.

Our residential and commercial efficiency programs have generated nearly 200,000 local job hours so far, and we are confident to see that number continue to rise in the coming year. At the same time, thousands of homeowners have had their homes assessed through our residential program, and more than half of those homeowners have chosen to make energy saving improvements to their homes.

This is a great achievement, but in the words of our fearless leader Andy Holzhauser, there is much more work to do!

Forest Hills Schools are ENERGY STAR®-S!

In 2011, the Energy Alliance began a partnership through our Better Buildings Performance Program with the Forest Hills School District.

They engaged us to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities at Nagel Middle School and Turpin High School. We were excited to do so for many reasons. Making schools more energy efficient gives back to schools with increased revenue through utility savings; it reduces our region’s overall energy consumption, which improves air quality; and it sets an example for our future generations. 

In the case of Nagel Middle School, the impact was even greater. Nagel Middle School has the largest middle school population in Ohio, and its administrative and teaching team took their building’s improvements as a learning opportunity for their students by incorporating building efficiency science into the school’s curriculum. We thought that was pretty cool. 

“By individually metering and installing different lighting systems in each of our science classrooms, science teachers are able to demonstrate to their students how different pieces of equipment affect power consumption, and how the decisions we make about power consumption affect the world around us.”

Ray Johnson, Director of Business Operations, Forest Hills School District

We would like to congratulate Forest Hills Schools for their impressive and inspiring efforts to improve their facilities’ energy efficiency. They have been able to reduce their electrical consumption by 18% over the past few years. 8 of their 9 school buildings, which range in age from 13-54 years old, have been ENERGY STAR® certified for each of the last two years.

Back in May 2013, upon the completion of their energy efficiency projects, we presented a check to the Forest Hills School District. Dr. Forest Heis and Dr. Dallas Jackson accepted the check on behalf of the Board of Education, and the Department of Energy was present to further honor this achievement in energy efficiency.

Learning Opportunities in Energy Efficiency

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Being present in our communities is important to the Energy Alliance because we believe so strongly in the importance of energy efficiency and how it can improve people’s lives at home and at work.

This past summer, we instituted the Ambassadors Program to connect with our communities through weekly farmer’s markets across the region and at Findlay Market in downtown Cincinnati.

This fall and winter, the Energy Alliance has been involved in several rewarding and inspiring educational outreach endeavors. An educational partnership we are particularly excited about is with the Academies of Innovation and Technology at Kenton County Schools. Another is Groundwork Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Environmental Education Program. Energy Alliance team members Ryan Scalf and Mike Robinson have been working with students from both.

Kenton County Schools’ Sustainable Energy Technology Engineering Program

envision280x226Kenton County’s Academies of Innovation and Technology is a unique program that culls students from three high schools in Kenton County and is meant to facilitate the growth and potential of these students within particular career fields of interest.

The Sustainable Energy Technology Engineering Program within Kenton County’s Academies of Innovation and Technology is a three-year program that brings students together with business and industrial professionals to learn about sustainable energy systems and the environment. Students enrolled in this integrated program study green technologies, ecology, and environmental sciences across their course load. The senior year enables students to individualize and deepen their learning experience and to learn how to participate in a global economy with Advanced Placement (AP) classes, co-op opportunities, and/or college dual credit classes.

Program Update

In addition to their time spent studying home performance and payback for efficiency investments with Ryan Scalf, scholars from the Academy recently completed a wind turbine project and learned about the latest innovations in LED lighting systems with Chris Baker.

To learn more about how the Energy Alliance has been involved, read our Energy Advisor’s reflections and what students are saying below.

An Energy Advisor’s Impressions

“It has been an honor to work with the Kenton County School District’s Academies of Innovation and Technology, working with the Sustainable Energy Technology Engineering Academy as an Advisory Board member. This role is shared with many industry professionals in the area to provide support and information regarding the year-long project that the students are required to complete as part of their curriculum.

During the course of this school year, the Energy Alliance has spent time educating the scholars on what energy efficiency means, as well as how we use technology and scientific equipment to provide viable solutions to homeowners in the area of residential energy efficiency. We have also provided support in the classroom in reference to commercial lighting retrofits, photovoltaic arrays, current white roof technology, and anything else we can do to support the students on their projects and classroom materials.

“This opportunity to work alongside such intelligent and driven high school scholars has been personally very fulfilling to me. I am sincerely excited to see what they will have to say in their individual presentations, and I am truly honored to work with such a fantastic local educational program.”

– Ryan Scalf, Energy Alliance Energy Advisor

“It’s more hands on. It sticks with you. We get to learn what [real professionals] do every day.”

– Rachel Coleman, Sustainable Energy Technology Student

“You feel like you’re actually doing something productive in the classroom…. I don’t want to sound like we’re saving the world, but we kind of are…. It’s just pretty cool to be involved in something that’s never been happening before.”

– Trey Zimmerman, Sustainable Energy Technology Student

Groundwork Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Environmental Education Program

solar cars280x210The Energy Alliance’s student outreach efforts have not been limited to its partnership with the Academies of Innovation and Technology and Kenton County Schools. In February, members of the Energy Alliance took 7th and 8th grade science students from the Academy of World Languages through an educational home energy assessment at their teacher’s home. Twenty-four enthusiastic students left their teacher’s house with a much greater understanding of what energy efficiency means and ways to be energy efficient at home. This outreach was in partnership with Groundwork Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Environmental Education Program.

 

Energy Alliance Leads Nation in Energy Financing

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Wins 2012 CDFA Excellence in Energy Finance Award

CINCINNATI, OHIO – August 2, 2012 – The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) awarded the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance the 2012 Excellence in Energy Finance Award.  The Energy Alliance will formally accept the award this evening in Washington, D.C. at the CDFA National Development Finance Summit.

The Energy Alliance, in partnership with the Cincinnati Development Fund, Inc. received the excellence award for its commercial Building Performance Program, which helps building owners in the Greater Cincinnati area identify ways to make their facilities more energy efficient.

The Energy Alliance utilizes public and private investments to offer market rate financing to program participants that wish to upgrade their building facilities with energy efficiency measures.  Participants can qualify for loans between $100,000 and $1 million with competitive interest rates.

“Using our financing model, a program participant could take an energy efficiency loan for $125,000.  Combine it with an incentive from the utility company, and the estimated payback can be 4 years or less.  In fact, a monthly loan payment could be lower than their utility bill savings,” reflected Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Energy Alliance.

Holzhauser explained that the finance model is attractive to private investors because it offers a low-risk entry into this emerging market.

“Our innovative community partnership with CDF gives us access to a huge pool of commercial buildings in the Cincinnati community – buildings that could see a drastic reduction in their monthly utility and operating costs if they were to install efficient equipment,” said Holzhauser.

For more details about the Building Performance Program visit http://www.greatercea.org.

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Wins Award

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to be awarded Non-Profit of the Year by Green Energy Ohio

CINCINNATI,  OHIO – May 3, 2012 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance will be awarded the Non-Profit of the Year by Green Energy Ohio at the organization’s 12th Annual Meeting. The Energy Alliance received the award for outstanding facilitation of investments in energy efficiency for homeowners, non-profit organizations and commercial building owners through outreach, education, project management and financing solutions.

Awarded one of twenty-five federal Better Buildings Neighborhood grants, the Energy Alliance has been able to expand its offerings to homeowners and non-profits in the Greater Cincinnati area. With the $17 million Department of Energy grant the organization has also developed programs to help commercial and multi-family buildings reduce their energy waste.

The Energy Alliance will be one of eleven recipients of GEO awards for 2011 achievements. The Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a nonprofit organization that promotes economically and environmentally sustainable energy policies and practices in Ohio. The organization conducts outreach on all forms of renewable energy, serves as the Ohio American Solar Energy Society Chapter and provides a statewide residential solar thermal rebate.

In addition to the Annual Meeting and awards recognition, there will be a luncheon, trade show, review of the 2011 Annual Report and featured speakers.

What: Green Energy Ohio Non-Profit of the Year Award

When: Saturday, May 5, 2012, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Mound Advanced Technology Center, 480 Vantage Point, Miamisburg, OH 45342

Who: Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Green Energy Ohio and additional award recipients

2012 Green Business Award

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Awarded 2012 Green Business Award for Education/Outreach – Nonprofit

CINCINNATI – March 21, 2012 – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance was the recipient of the 2012 USGBC/Business Courier Green Business Award for Education/Outreach – Nonprofit at an evening reception held at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, March 20, 2012. The Energy Alliance was also awarded a Finalist Green Business Award in the Market Strategy – Nonprofit.

The nonprofit is on a mission to help area communities reduce their energy usage. Launched in 2010, the community outreach program provided education, expertise and innovative financing options for communities in the Greater Cincinnati area to improve the efficiency of their homes, businesses and nonprofits.

The goal of the community outreach program was to drive the demand for energy efficiency in a personal way. The Energy Alliance accomplished this by reaching out to homeowners directly through community engagement and neighborhood canvassing. Since the launch of the program, the Energy Alliance has reached more than 5,100 residents via events and canvasses and more than 6,000 unique visitors through online outreach. It has received more than 1,400 home energy assessment requests leading to 650 completed home energy upgrades.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities reduce their energy costs. The Energy Alliance provides education, expertise and innovative financing to help the region to become more energy efficient, saving money for residents while also creating local jobs. Visit www.greatercea.org

energy alliance news

Energy Efficiency Market Study

Energy Improvements Can Save Greater Cincinnati $60 Million and Create Over 300 Local Jobs

CINCINNATI, OHIO  – December 2,  2011– Energy efficiency upgrades to the area’s homes and non-profit buildings can save area residents $60 million in lower energy bills and create more than 300 local jobs, according to a study released today by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

The study, conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, is the first of its kind in the region. Researchers found that routine energy upgrades, such as installing more insulation and reducing drafts, as well as upgrading heating and air conditioning units, will also reduce energy related air pollution.

“My Mom used to say: ‘Close the door, you are letting the heat out.’ That’s what we have here. Our house is our community and we have dollars leaking out,’’ said Jeff Rexhausen, associate director of research at the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center. “The dollars are leaking out because we are spending them on energy. If we saved money on energy, we could spend our money on other things and that would improve our local economy. That’s really what this report is about.’’

Researchers of the study, commissioned by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, examined energy, building, census, and environmental data for Hamilton, Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties – which are all served by the non-profit group. The Energy Alliance provides low-cost financial incentives for homeowners and non-profit groups to make energy efficiency upgrades. The report, “The Energy Efficiency Market in the Greater Cincinnati Region: Energy Savings Potential and Strategies to Improve Performance of Residential and Non-Profit Buildings,” quantifies the level of economic impact those upgrades can make to the region.

The findings were shared last month with leaders from local governments, businesses, banks and foundations to increase awareness and spur continued partnership with the Energy Alliance.

Researchers found that if 69,000 homeowners and 460 non-profits make energy improvements using the Energy Alliance’s program, they would save $22.2 million in 2020 and $59.6 million in lower energy bills in 2030.  Further, most homeowners would see immediate cash savings in the first year of the energy upgrade and an average savings of $500 a year for 18 years.  

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is one of only 35 organizations in the country to be awarded a grant through the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program.  The mission of the program is to transform the energy efficiency market.  What that means for The Energy Alliance is investing in technology, workforce development, and financing solutions to dramatically increase both the supply and demand of the market.

To date, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has provided expertise and funding to weatherize 325 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homes with such improvements.

“We know heating and air-conditioning systems, as well as windows, will be upgraded as usual,’’ said Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. “But now we can both drive new work and have a role in the existing market to make sure it’s getting done in a more efficient manner. We now can generate new investment in our economy.”

As homeowners save money on their energy bills, their spending will shift and create the need for jobs in other sectors of the local economy, researchers said.  They calculated that around 317 local jobs would be created in 2030 in the areas of construction and manufacturing as well as in trades and services.  Those jobs would pump an additional $13 million into the local economy.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy resource available to the Cincinnati region. The Energy Alliance programs are a great deal for home and building owners who take advantage of them, utility customers on the whole, and the economy of the region in general,” said the report’s lead author Eric Mackres, who is a Senior Policy Analyst for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Researchers also projected  that energy upgrades provided through Energy Alliance programs would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 250,000 metric tons, nitrogen oxides by 340 metric tons and sulfur dioxide by 1,640 metric tons in 2030.

“This really has a triple bottom line: We can each make an investment in our homes, and in doing so, we will make an economic investment in our community that has a societal benefit as well as benefits to our earth and the climate,’’ Holzhauser said.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities reduce their energy costs. The Energy Alliance provides education, expertise and innovative financing to help the region to become more energy efficient, saving money for residents while also creating local jobs. Visit www.greatercea.org.

The University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center,founded in 1977, is a leading provider of economic resources for educators, students, businesses, and public agencies.  Visit www.economicscenter.org

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit www.aceee.org.