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Commissioners Fund First Energy Efficiency Project, Loan Leveraged to Boost Development, Sustainabil

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Contact: Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Marty Homan, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5273

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners today announced the first funded Energy Works project at PNC Plaza in downtown Columbus. Energy Works is an economic development partnership between the Franklin County commissioners and the ColumbusFranklin County Finance Authority, which offers low-interest loans to Central Ohio businesses, local governments, schools, and non-profits to support cost-effective energy efficiency improvements that result in lower energy usage and cost. The first project is to be part of a more-than $3.3 million energy efficiency upgrade to the 24-story PNC Plaza.

“Economic Development is something we do well in Franklin County,” said Board President, John O’Grady. “And Energy Works allows us to keep and attract business to our region, leverage loan funds for greater economic impact, and to do so in a green, sustainable way.”

The Energy Works loan announced today is for $400,000 with the building’s owner, and enables the project to go forward, which will result in more than $3.3 million in local economic impact in the form of design services, construction jobs, and materials, as well as increasing the value and attractiveness of Central Ohio office stock. The project includes green improvements to the 360,000 sq ft building’s roof, lighting, and water supply, and will provide energy savings of about 15%.

“Saving $100,000 in energy costs while reducing 5,372 tons of CO2 shows that economic development and environmental resilience work hand in glove,” said Commissioner Paula Brooks. “Good local jobs in the emerging clean energy and energy efficiency sector, add yet another workforce economic development dimension as well. Reaching back to our county’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin, it looks like this could be called a classic, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’ scenario.”

Energy Works is one of the county’s suite of Smart Works economic development initiatives, and was rolled out in the fall of 2015. The loans made by Energy Works are below market rate, and can help to fund projects such as renewable power generation, fuel cells, waste energy recovery, high efficiency HVAC, or “smart” lighting. Because it’s a revolving loan program, the same funds can be reinvested many times in new projects as previous projects are repaid.

“Energy Works loans are a very low cost way for us to encourage economic growth while helping to keep Franklin County green,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “Most important, of course, are the jobs that our Smart Works programs create and support.”

Other funds for the PNC Plaza project announced today are provided through the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority’s Columbus Region Energy Fund, and from the company itself, and the loan is guaranteed by the state of Ohio. In all, the project will keep more than 5,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere each year, an amount equal to burning 31 railcars full of coal or removing almost 500 homes from the power grid.

For more information about Energy Works, visit www.franklincountyohio.gov/energyworks.

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