News

New Energy Tool Available for Central Ohio Property Owners

March 24, 2016 

With the formation of an Energy Special Improvement District (E-SID), property owners in Central Ohio can now take advantage of a new tool that offers both economic and environmental benefits.

The City of Columbus recently formed the creation of the Columbus Regional Energy Special Improvement District. This E-SID will allow property owners to utilize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), to finance energy efficiency and alternative energy improvements for existing non-residential buildings. The PNC Plaza, in downtown Columbus, came forward as the first project to initiate the E-SID.

PACE allows property owners to finance building energy improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill and eliminates the need for upfront capital. Owners can spread the repayment costs over the life of the energy improvements, so that the savings generated from the project are greater than the annual PACE loan repayment. The loan is tied to the property bill rather than the borrower’s credit which means it does not count as debt.

Local municipalities and townships contiguous to the City of Columbus may easily join the existing E-SID with facilitation of shared services.

MORPC discovered in its Regional Energy Action Plan, released in 2014, that the Central Ohio region has a higher per capita energy use that the rest of Ohio and United States by 3% and 8%, respectively. MORPC and its member communities have solidified PACE as a tool to address energy use as well as incentivize the redevelopment of under-utilized commercial and industrial properties.   

“High per capita energy use, combined with the anticipated future growth to the region, further highlights the need to address the inefficient use of energy and the potential impact on economic opportunities,” said MORPC Energy and Air Quality Director, Christina O’Keeffe “PACE can help reduce this impact by helping Central Ohio communities control energy costs and by modernizing their aging building stock.”

The PNC Plaza identified more than $4.5 million in energy efficiency improvements at their downtown Columbus location. Project elements include lighting upgrades, water supply pumps, roofing improvements, and other projects with an estimated annual savings of $194,193 and total estimated savings of more than $2.9 million.

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority can leverage PACE in concert with their Columbus Region Energy Fund to finance eligible building energy upgrades. Funding support is provided through Franklin County’s Energy Works program. Eligible energy improvements include lighting, HVAC, energy management systems, solar, waste energy recovery, and more.

Please contact Jean Carter-Ryan, Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority, at jean_carterryan@columbus.org for more information on financing a project.  

For general information please contact Brandi Whetstone, MORPC, at bwhetstone@morpc.org.