Downtown Energy Saving Grant Program
Over 118 downtown businesses have received energy grants for free energy studies, the first step in reducing annual energy costs!
In support of the City's Green Energy Challenge and the DDA's goal to encourage a more sustainable downtown, the DDA created the Downtown Energy Saving Grant Program in 2008. In 2013, the DDA will once again be offering free energy audits and will assist those interested in making energy saving improvements with applications for financing through PACE or Michigan Saves.
Energy Audit: The DDA energy saving grant consists of a free energy audit for buildings or businesses within the DDA District. The audits, conducted by a recommended contractor, reveal opportunities for energy savings, including door and window leaks, areas of poor insulation, and outdated lighting or heating systems and controls. The full audit report provides grant recipients with a tailored list of recommended energy-saving measures and renewable energy opportunities as well as estimated installation costs, energy savings and payback periods for each measure. Estimated cost per audit is $2,000 - $4,000, and is fully paid for by the DDA.
There are two goals for the energy audits. The first is to educate the building owner about their building, how energy is used and how much it is costing them each year for heating, lighting, air conditioning, computers, etc. The second goal is to provide them with a decision making tool on energy-saving measures that could help business/building owners reduce their energy costs.
As always, grant funds are limited, but will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. In order to apply for a grant, downtown businesses or building owners should fill out the application below and return it to the DDA by no later than April 2nd, 2013.
Click here to download: Energy Audit Grant Application (pdf)
Professional implementation support: Once a building/business owner obtains a certified energy audit, the DDA will assist those interested in making energy-saving improvements with applications for financing through PACE or Michigan Saves.
The City’s PACE program
The City Council approved Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) will provide special assessments for energy projects installed on commercial properties within Ann Arbor City Limits. This program allows the City to make funds available for improvements and gives property owners a voluntary mechanism for funding. The voluntary special assessment provides attractive financing to property owners by offering fixed interest rates and a long re-payment period. Eligible energy projects include heating and air conditioning equipment, lighting, system controls, insulation and weather sealing, cool roofs, windows and doors, geothermal systems, energy star appliances, and solar photovoltaic systems. Projects may range in size from $10,000 to $350,000.
Michigan Saves is a public-private partnership with seed funding from the State of Michigan and the United State Department of Energy, and it works with private lenders to provide affordable financing to help homes and businesses save energy and money. Michigan Saves teamed up with two Ann Arbor-based financial institutions—Ervin Leasing and Bank of Ann Arbor—to offer the Business Energy Financing Program statewide. The Business Energy Financing Program helps businesses reduce costs by providing low-interest financing for energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, refrigeration, equipment, and more. Businesses make the upgrades with the help of authorized contractors and affordable financing of $2,000 to $150,000 through Ervin Leasing, which is owned by the Bank of Ann Arbor.
Both PACE and Michigan Saves require a certified energy audit. Downtown businesses and building owners that have already received a DDA energy audit are eligible. Those who have interest in implementing suggested improvements can contact David Konkle for more information. Ann Arbor area contractors are also encouraged to inquire about getting registered for the Michigan Saves Program.
Since 2008, 118 downtown businesses have received a free energy audit.
These audits covered a total of 1,659,000 sq ft of downtown commercial space, and noted a total annual energy expense of $3.97 million/yr. The DDA energy audits identified over $4.6 million in potential energy saving improvements that were estimated to save $957,000/yr in energy costs. The DDA program has also helped finance over 30 downtown energy improvement projects totaling $805,000 with an estimated $94,000/yr in energy cost savings, helping move the community closer to meeting its sustainability goals.
Praise from Grant Recipients:
Curtis Commercial L.L.C. and The Neutral Zone Teen Center are among the building owners who benefitted from DDA energy audits in 2008-09. Upon receiving their energy audit both committed to investing in energy improvements, ranging from lighting and windows to more energy efficient heating and cooling equipment.
Even though Curtis Commercial has made energy efficient investments in the past, they credited the DDA's program for spurring these additional improvements. “We would not have done them … had it not been for the support of the DDA,” Curtis said. “There's no question that we have accelerated and prioritized the energy efficiency programs provided through the DDA as our capital improvement projects for this year and next.”
"On behalf of the Neutral Zone's teens, staff and Board of the Ann Arbor Teen Center we greatly appreciate the $20,000 grant provided by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to fund insulation of Neutral Zone's B-Side and studio. The project is of immense value to us - it will save energy and money from now well into the future. We are grateful for this incredible assistance."
Executive Director, Neutral Zone Teen Center
Zingerman’s is one of many downtown businesses that benefitted from the DDA Energy Saving Grant Program in 2009-2010, investing over $16,800 in improvements and expecting to save over $4,500 in annual energy costs. With plans to implement more energy improvements in the next year, Nancy Rucker, Zingerman’s facility Manager, expressed her enthusiasm for the DDA program, “The audit has been a big success for us here at the deli. I couldn't be more enthusiastic, it's really a great program and I highly recommend that all downtown businesses take advantage of this opportunity to gain matching funds and professional guidance. You can’t go wrong – everything you need is provided and the results keep on giving! I invite anyone interested in knowing more to come visit with me here at the deli, I'm happy to share our experience and all that we've gained and learned by doing this audit."
"The DDA's Energy Program provided us with a complete look at the energy efficiency of the Schlenker Building and opportunities for saving both energy and operating expense. We applaud the DDA for proactively promoting energy conservation within the downtown community."
Janet Muhleman, Owner, Liberty Land L.L.C.
"The Energy Conservation Grant program is, in my view, at the "core" of what the DDA is supposed to be providing."
Kent W. Burkhart, Burkhart Enterprises
"The DDA was instrumental in motivating and educating us as a major owner in the downtown to make significant investments in energy conservation. They planted the seed and we are now proud to say that we are leading the way in downtown today in our Green partnership with Google and at our other buildings as well."
Albert M. Berriz, CEO McKinley, Inc.
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This program is the latest in a number of DDA initiatives to promote sustainability as an essential component of downtown development. The DDA anticipates that the Energy Saving Grant program will help building and business owners find ways to save overhead costs and reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.
If you are interested in more information, please contact the DDA Energy Programs Director, Dave Konkle at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us using the following information:
150 South Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Telephone: (734) 994-6697
Fax: (734) 997-1491