Several groups helping make Northeast Ohio greener

Businesses and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are increasingly looking to reduce energy costs and lessen their environmental impact; environmentalists and other advocates say several organizations are helping make that happen, Cleveland.com reports. KeyBank’s Key4Green business segment is “a group of bankers who understand the (renewable energy) industry, and they help clients understand tax implications and the tax credits available,” the article reports. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is in the permitting process to build six offshore wind turbines several miles off the Lake Erie coast (see our August 25, 2017 blog post). Rust Belt Riders “collect food waste that would normally go into the garbage and distribute it” to urban farmers and community gardeners to use as fertilizer, diverting the waste from landfills. The Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that “helps building owners and property managers reduce their electricity use and lower CO2 emissions.” For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Akron PNC Center begins $8.5M PACE-financed energy efficiency project

The 23-story PNC Center in downtown Akron has begun work on an $8.5-million energy-efficiency improvement project funded through property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, the Akron Beacon-Journal reports. A 25,000-pound aging chiller and two boilers will be removed and replaced with more efficient heating and cooling systems. The project also includes new lighting and other energy-efficient upgrades. The Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) is issuing bonds to finance the project; those bonds will be repaid over 18 years at an average rate of about $477,000 annually. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

St. Clairsville, Caldwell prisons awarded $11M in OAQDA financing for energy upgrades

A proposed energy conservation project at two Ohio prisons will receive $11 million in financing from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) to help fund upgrades to reduce energy and water consumption, The Daily Jeff reports. Johnson Controls Inc., will use the OAQDA financing for the installation of lighting retrofits, enhanced energy management systems, and water conservation measures at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville and Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell. The project is expected to “reduce utility bills, operations and maintenance at both facilities combined by $1,042,360.17 annually, or approximately 21 percent,” according to the article. The resulting carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions reduction will be equivalent to the amount produced by 1,137 cars on the road or 573 homes’ electricity usage. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance

Fifth Third plans to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp recently became the first bank and first Fortune 500 company “to contract for 100 percent renewable power through a single new project,” The Toledo Blade reports. The company announced a power purchase agreement that will result in the construction of a $200-million, 80-megawatt solar project in North Carolina, which will generate about 194,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 144,000 metric tons each year, equivalent to emissions produced by 30,800 passenger cars or 21,600 homes. Scott Hassell, Fifth Third’s vice president and director of environmental sustainability, said the company has been working for years to increase sustainability and energy efficiency. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

Record numbers in 2017 show clean energy is good for American economy

The growth of sustainable energy industries in 2017 “contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation and the expansion of the American economy,” according to findings in the sixth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, nawindpower.com reports. The factbook is the result of “a comprehensive review of energy statistics” by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), according to the article. The 2018 edition found that renewable deployment “grew at a near-record pace” last year, with wind, solar and hydropower driving renewable generation “up from 15% to 18% of the total electricity mix in one year.” The energy efficiency sector “was the largest single employer within the sustainable energy sectors” with nearly 2.2 million jobs. The United States “remains globally competitive for energy-intensive industries, thanks to low industrial power prices,” and corporations are increasingly demanding clean energy and investing in energy efficiency. For more, read the full article or click here to read the full factbook. 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability, Wind

Ohio State Energy Partners presents first energy conservation projects

A $3.4-million campus lighting project and a $2.3-million HVAC upgrade for Dreese Laboratory are the first planned energy conservation proposals as part of The Ohio State University’s $1-billion private energy-management deal (see our April 12, 2017 blog post), The Lantern reports. Ohio State Energy Partners “will upgrade existing lighting to LEDs in 51 Columbus campus buildings” including Ohio Stadium, University Hall and Independence Hall, according to the article. Dreese Laboratory upgrades include “enhancing the HVAC control system, insulating steam valves and adding a heat recovery chiller, which captures heat from the existing system that can be used for other purposes.” Those upgrades will “reduce energy consumption in the building by 37 percent.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency

Duke Energy settlement will fund energy efficiency financing for consumers

A new program will allow Ohio residential Duke Energy service customers to apply for interest-free loans for energy efficiency upgrades, Cincinnati.com reports. As part of Duke Energy’s $80 million settlement in an overbilling dispute, the utility has awarded a $500,000 grant to energy analytics firm EmpowerSaves and housing nonprofit Cincinnati Development for the program. Officials “hope to lend out the $500,000 to roughly 200 to 250 homeowners or landlords to each make upwards of $3,500 worth of energy improvements” including insulation and smart thermostats, according to the article. Customers will pay back the loans “over three to five years with the savings from the upgrades.” As the money is paid back, it would be loaned out again. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities

Energy efficiency company says its services can save Youngstown millions

Could energy efficiency savings cover a projected $2.5 million to $3 million budget shortfall for the city of Youngstown? Energy Management Services LLC thinks so; the company’s energy engineer, Jennifer Stofko, emailed city officials asking for a meeting to discuss how Energy Management could “potentially save the city $2.5 million,” according to a recent article in The Vindicator. Carl Avers, a consultant for Energy Management, said “the company encourages the use of LED lighting and teaches building owners how to better manage energy.” Avers said, “[w]e install more-efficient motors, more-efficient fans and chillers, and where they are not on a district steam system, we put in more-efficient boilers.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency

Potential benefits of microgrids for hospitals

For hospitals, a major power outage can pose a serious threat to the health of patients. In the wake of various hurricanes and severe storms in 2017, there has been a renewed focus on ways to increase reliability and resiliency for hospitals beyond traditional backup diesel generators. One option that has been discussed recently is microgrids. This article discusses what constitutes a microgrid and summarizes some of the potential benefits microgrids can provide hospitals. In addition, this article discusses AEP-Ohio’s proposed microgrid demonstration project. If AEP-Ohio’s proposal is accepted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (the Commission), a medical facility within AEP-Ohio’s service territory may be eligible to be selected to host a microgrid. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency

ASHTA Chemicals $100M project will upgrade energy efficiency and environmental friendliness

A chemical products manufacturer in Ashtabula Township “has started work on a $100 million project” to improve its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, the Star Beacon reports. ASHTA Chemicals makes “chlorine and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and other chemical products used for water treatment, pharmaceuticals, batteries, industrial cleaners and fertilizers,” according to the article. The company “has been using a mercury cell process to make its products” for decades, but will switch to a “membrane cell technology” process, which will eliminate the use of mercury and reduce energy costs “by about 25 percent.” ASHTA President Brad Westfall said, “[t]his investment will allow us to operate our facility long into the future with significantly improved energy efficiency and increased production capacity,” as well as eliminating the use of mercury. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.
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