By simply incorporating some new, efficient building technologies, we can help lower lighting costs by up to 80 percent and overall energy consumption by up to 50 percent. But do people realize that such retrofit investments can sometimes be made with little or no capital investment from cities? (These are often fully paid within 10 years as a result of their decreased energy consumption.) This can be accomplished through a contracting method called "performance contracting" which guarantees increased energy efficiency through the performance of new equipment upgrades. When tied to energy rates that are based on the historical increase in energy rates, these upgrades can yield direct savings that can then be applied to pay back the financing on the upgrade. [See a slide show of 5 bright spots in the U.S. economy.]
Performance contracting can be a very attractive way to improve a city's energy efficiency and upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate a rapidly growing population, challenged with a tight budget. Very simply, it is a way for cities to make critical investments even when they are low on capital.
The technology is here. The workers are here. And now the financing is here too. What are we waiting for?