Financing Challenges Still Must Be Overcome
Jan 6, 2015 -- In a report today from its Council on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (CFIRE), the National Institute of Building Sciences issued findings and recommendations on the financing of small commercial retrofit projects for energy efficiency. Small commercial buildings (generally defined as less than 50,000 square feet) make up the majority of the nation’s building stock by both number and area (93.9 percent and 49.5 respectively). Yet, despite this vast segment of the building stock, investments in energy-efficiency retrofit projects for small commercial buildings have lagged behind those for larger buildings.
The CFIRE report, Financing Small Commercial Building Energy Performance Upgrades: Challenges and Opportunities, identifies several barriers to investment in such retrofits. Key issues include the costs and complexity associated with relatively small loan sizes as well as the challenge owners have in understanding and trusting predicted retrofit outcomes. Conservatively estimated as a $35.6 billion market, investments in small building retrofits could yield the nation an estimated 424,000 job years of full-time employment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 87 million metric tons a year. Small building retrofits would also improve the resilience of the nation’s built environment and take pressure off the aging electric grid.
In addition to identifying the challenges, the report also highlights current programs and mechanisms that can be replicated or expanded to address the challenges.
The report recommends:
CFIRE released the report during its Annual Meeting, held during Building Innovation 2015: The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo.
The Council will host a webinar on March 10, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm ET to discuss the report findings and recommendations aimed at government, retrofit providers and building owners; identify existing programs that successfully support retrofits for small commercial buildings; and discuss the significant opportunities presented by this segment of the industry.
About the National Institute of Building Sciences
The National Institute of Building Sciences, authorized by public law 93-383 in 1974, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to identify and resolve building process and facility performance problems. The Institute serves as an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sectors with respect to the use of building science and technology.
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