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Monday, January 10, 2011


Houston Jobs Supported through Energy Efficiency Program

A number of Houston jobs will be supported through a new program aimed at increasing energy efficiency.

As part of the Green Office Challenge, city officials and several local organizations are working together to launch the Energy Efficiency Incentive Program. The program will provide office building owners, property managers, and tenants a financial incentive to reduce energy consumption in their building.

The EEIP - started by the City of Houston, the GeoTechnology Research Institute/Houston Advanced Research Center, and the Clinton Climate Initiative - is being funded by $3 million of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

"The Energy Efficiency Incentive Program is an unprecedented opportunity for commercial building owners and managers to actively engage in the city-wide sustainability strategy - to make Houston a greener, cleaner and healthier place for ourselves and future Houstonians," Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement. "The energy efficiency projects completed as part of this program will significantly reduce energy consumption, save money, create green jobs and help buildings achieve their sustainability goals."

In order to be eligible for funding, business owners must have an energy manager perform an energy audit and make energy conservation recommendations. Those recommendations must result in at least a projected 15 percent savings in energy costs in order to be eligible.

Eligible businesses will then be able to receive incentives of up to 20 percent of the up-front implementation costs, with the maximum incentive allowed per building ranging from $20,000 to $200,000. At least 60 percent of the funding will be used for projects costing less than $500,000.

Building owners shouldn't worry about footing the bill for the remainder of the upgrades, as those costs should be reimbursed through reductions in utility costs within 18 to 48 months of the project's completion.


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