When Google announces a one billion dollar investment in energy efficiency initiatives it confirms a growing trend but it’s hardly big news. To some degree it’s what’s expected of cutting edge companies with extremely deep pockets and vast human resources. It’s also what most of the other large companies are doing.
For smaller companies the upfront cost of energy efficiency is often a barrier to upgrading and the endless choices that go along with making a decision can be simply overwhelming. It’s even more difficult when a company’s human resources are already maxed out in their day to day responsibilities. Taking on a energy renovation project is risking overload and it’s is often easier to do nothing. Let the giant companies get all the bragging rights!
On the flip side, when a local brewery converts an old industrial building into a state of the art shiny new brewery, with an overriding emphasis on energy efficiency, the story quickly gets very interesting! It illustrates how fast the trend towards energy efficiency is growing!
Woodward Avenue Brewers opened its Woodward Avenue brewery and restaurant in 1997 and was one of the first craft breweries in the Metro Detroit area. As the company grew it began looking for another location and purchased a former industrial building near its original operation that, as of today, is stark and empty. An important note is this was a brownfield site that obtained public funding for clean up and the permit for use. The project will take a property that was completely abandoned and turn it into a useful piece of valuable real estate!
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan (EAGM) was called in to help the owners of the building convert the property into a state of the art microbrewery with a focus on “maximizing energy efficiency”. That conversion is set to begin very soon!
To achieve maximum efficiency the owners are considering a long list of potential options including renewable energy (solar / geothermal), lighting controls and LED lights, electric vehicles, solar charging stations, and the list goes on.
This extensive renovation project will be a significant undertaking and the Energy Alliance Group of Michigan will coordinate all aspects of the project and utilize the unique energy efficiency financing program known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to launch the project. PACE was passed into law by the state legislature in order to remove the upfront cost of energy efficiency upgrades and make saving energy an easier option.
In addition to PACE the project will take advantage of all applicable Tax Credits, Accelerated Tax Depreciation, Utility Rate Reduction Incentives, and Federal Solar Renewable Energy Tax Credits. By utilizing all of these options the project can proceed as a comprehensive energy makeover instead of the piecemeal approach that is often the standard when energy projects are funded directly out of the business cash flow.
Using incentives, rebates, tax benefits and energy specific financing, projects that were only possible for the big guys are now possible for main street companies. In this case the main street is known as Woodward Avenue!
This will be an exciting project to follow as it progresses.