Editor's Letter

12/29/2016 | By Chris Olson

Standardized Savings from Energy Retrofits

Energy efficiency retrofits will look more like a science due to the efforts of the Investor Confidence Project (ICP), a global underwriting standard for energy efficiency launched by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

By increasing confidence in the financial return of building retrofits, ICP hopes to create a new market for financing energy efficiency. Retrofits certified by ICP as Investor-Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) have been designed to verify a positive bottom line.

“We’ve known for decades there’s a lot of potential for financial returns locked up in the way buildings use energy. ICP provides a standard platform for project developers and underwriters to use to ensure building retrofits capture as much of this potential as possible,” says Matt Golden, ICP’s director.

ICP has developed protocols for a consistent method and best practices. The protocols address two building types, commercial and multifamily. To create uniform projects with reliable returns, the protocols use existing standards including ASTM BEPA (E 2797, Building Energy Performance Assessment) and EVO-IPMVP (Efficiency Valuation Organization, International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol) as well as ICP-developed elements.

A credentialing system provides the authority of third-party validation for the ICP program. Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) — which also certifies practitioners for LEED, Sustainable SITES, and others — offers credentials to ICP professionals. Retrofits created by a credentialed project developer and verified by a credentialed assurance provider receive the IREE designation.

There’s a lot of potential for financial returns locked up in the way buildings use energy.

The ICP program is only beginning but has already had an impact in Texas, where its protocols are used in the innovative Texas PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program called “PACE in a Box.” More than a dozen lenders who see the value in IREE projects are included in the ICP Investor Network.    

ICP is a welcome development for building owners and FMs. Our surveys of the BUILDINGS audience have repeatedly shown that the biggest obstacle to energy efficiency projects is initial cost. Another significant obstacle is C-suite execs and investors whose faith in the reliability of energy and dollar savings for retrofits is limited. ICP hurdles both obstacles with ease.


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