Groups scribe energy efficiency standard in building investor, owner terms

Sources: Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI); CP staff

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Business Certification affiliate is teaming with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop, deliver and promote the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) as the premier global underwriting standard for energy efficiency projects, primarily in building retrofits. ICP will join GBCI’s portfolio of credentials and certifications, topped by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building rating system.

The partnership follows the rapid adoption of the ICP system, including its certification for Investor-Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) projects in the buildings sector, with successful programs and pilots in the United States and Europe. “Investment in energy efficiency is one of the most powerful levers for transforming the built environment. GBCI and EDF are ensuring that these investments yield positive results for the environment and the bottom line,” says GBCI President Mahesh Ramanujam, who also serves as U.S. Green Building Council chief operating officer. “GBCI continues to expand its portfolio to work toward a greener future, and the Investor Confidence Project is another big step in engaging the financial community in driving smart, energy-saving decisions that will deliver higher performance in existing buildings worldwide.”

ICP works to transform the energy efficiency market by increasing confidence in the financial and environmental performance of building retrofits, he adds. It offers investors and developers a standardized roadmap to assess risk and deliver on project results by optimizing performance and monitoring the outcome of energy efficiency investments to generate financial savings. By streamlining transactions and increasing the reliability of projected energy savings through its IREE certification, GBCI notes, ICP reduces overhead costs to bring energy efficiency projects to market.

“The world’s buildings account for about 40 percent of all energy use, and, in major cities like New York and London, that figure as much as doubles. What’s more, up to half of this energy is wasted,” contends EDF Chief of Strategy, Global Energy and Finance Andy Darrell. “ICP offers a system for investors and developers to access the trillion-dollar energy efficiency market, which remains largely untapped. Our partnership with GBCI builds on ICP’s momentum, mobilizing capital to finance efficiency and cutting harmful pollution around the world.”

GBCI will work to scale ICP from a project conceived, incubated and developed at EDF in the U.S. and Europe to a market-based standard, housed at GBCI and capable of global growth and alignment with other GBCI programs. “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,” observes ICP Director Matt Golden. “The partnership with GBCI will help ICP usher a new era of market-driven performance and achieve global scale.”

The ICP system includes more than 70 credentialed project developers. Projects are deemed ICP-compliant and IREE-certified by independent quality assurance providers. These include leading energy efficiency firms in the U.S. and Europe, as well as other firms that directly interact with energy efficiency customers. ICP is running a pilot through the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and is working with Pacific Gas and Electric in California to provide interest-free loans to contractors who develop ICP investor-ready projects.