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Energy Savings in Commercial Buildings

Commercial building owners are often not either energy savings nor environmental sustainability focused types.

They are just more short term profitability oriented…….or just dinosaurs. For the most part, they do not see capital

investments in these initiatives or technologies as providing enough short term results or as primary to their business – hence avoidance rationale. If they can’t sell it, why should they care about it? Here is where more clarity, less conflicting messages intended to confuse, originating from government entities about what businesses and people can do to protect our environment would be helpful. Every little bit of individual effort and behavioral change can in fact help…..contrary to the brilliance(?) coming from Washington, DC.

Now that CI Works owns real estate in Amesbury, we will convert an old mill building energy hog into a more efficient facility which benefits our real estate business and the environment. We will update the lighting within the 11 Chestnut St. building to utilize LED’s and save approximately $1,500 per month on electricity costs. We will also include motion detectors so no longer any need to worry about tenants shutting lights off – both during the day and at night. The newer lighting will also create a better, safer work environment for our tenants and their employees.

CI Works will also take a run at improving the efficiency of the heating systems and the fuels utilized in the building. A change as simple as updating to new ‘smart’ thermostats to more level energy usage and incorporating ambient temperatures in managing the heating systems’ demand will save money and improve tenant feel. We also intend to eliminate open flame heating units. These changes may not actually sound like technology upgrades, but are improvements as to both efficiency and less emissions.

Commercial PACE – a state of Massachusetts initiative aimed at commercial buildings and businesses will be leveraged. It is a national program that provides a financing alternative for renewable energy projects – making it simpler to deal with banks for financing, municipality permitting, state incentives, and utility grid integration – no small feat. The program is pointed toward commercial buildings allowing for full ownership benefits to remain with the owners – including facilitating transferability of the assets in the event of building sale. In addition, PACE facilitates incorporating other energy savings components in the financing – like HVAC and building envelope upgrades. 11 Chestnut St. will be ‘powered by the sun’ upon completion.

Now, after covering the PACE benefits, after all it IS a state program. So, not unexpectedly, it has been tied up for 2 years in government dysfunction that even an elected state representatives can’t figure out how to get through. First, one state agency engineers the program – successfully I might add: another agency gets involved for oversight – and you lose 1 year elapsed time in approving the work of another - 2017; then legislators get involved with the obvious hand in the cookie jar – and another year lost - 2018; maybe 2019 at long last? There is nothing worse for a business than uncertain timeframes and results. CI Works building is lined up to be included in the first roll out of PACE, part of the first project in Amesbury, Amesbury being first municipality to launch, and our energy savings will be passed on to tenants through low lease rates. It will also result in 11 Chestnut St. achieving significant sustainability points for the building in retaining and attracting tenants.

CI Works also intends to utilize the physical building to be a display of energy related technologies that can be a model and tenant showcase for other buildings in the area. Join us at CI Works to participate in the activity and energy.

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