1.6 million square feet accepted into Phase One of nation’s first efficiency-as-a-service pilot by Seattle City Light

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Multiple commercial office buildings in Seattle are selected for first key step in innovative pilot program where, for up to 20 years, these buildings can sell harvested efficiency energy back to the Grid

"Designing new programs like our Energy Efficiency as a Service pilot helps City Light accelerate towards a future where Seattle is sustainable and resilient," said Colm Otten, Seattle City Light.

Gridium announced today that more than three million kilowatt-hours of potential efficiency resources from nearly one million square feet of downtown office space have been selected to proceed to contracting, as part of a bigger cohort, into Seattle City Light’s new Energy Efficiency-as-a-Service (EEaS) pilot program. By designing 20-year Efficiency Power Purchase Agreements for these buildings, SCL is showing a way towards unlocking the estimated $45 billion of annual savings waiting to be sourced, over the next ten years, from deep energy efficiency opportunities buried in commercial offices across the U.S. SCL estimates that as much as 20% of its annual load, or 2 Billion KWh, could be eligible to apply for this program.

A commitment to innovation with new EEaS pilot program

“Designing new programs like our Energy Efficiency as a Service pilot helps City Light accelerate towards a future where Seattle is sustainable and resilient. We’re proud of the developments we’ve made on behalf of our city to help commercial offices bridge the split-incentive gap with tenants, allowing all parties to benefit over the long-term when owners deploy energy efficient technologies inside their facilities,” said Colm Otten, Sr. Program Manager at Seattle City Light.

The Seattle City Council last year unanimously approved SCL’s request for a pilot program based on the Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction Structure (MEETS) developed at the Bullitt Center. The pilot program allows transactions where buildings purchase energy efficiency as they would any other energy resource, at a similar price. Eligible buildings need at least 50,000 square feet of space in the municipal utility's service territory and a plan to achieve reductions of at least 25% relative to their baseline electricity usage from 12 months of normal operations.

Solving for deep retrofits with bankable transactions

“Building owners and operators care about the outcome of an energy upgrade and how it improves comfort, operations, health and value. Putting this new efficiency resource on the bill allows for more comprehensive projects that deliver these outcomes by addressing multiple systems all with the controls to unlock efficiency while making the building more responsive” said Ian Guerry, Managing Director at Gridium Alpha.    

In the past, commercial office buildings entered a neighborhood of mostly culs-de-sac when pursuing energy efficiency projects. Often, the owner would pay for an energy efficiency upgrade while the tenant would be the principal entity to benefit. Or, if the Grid offered an incentive to the owner, the incentive would undervalue the actual energy efficiency delivered back to the Grid over time, or otherwise not link at all to the building’s actual energy performance.

Aligning interests in the building with the Grid, all on the bill

“We are excited to bring capital and expertise to our customer base and radically reduce their energy costs,” said Tom Arnold, CEO of Gridium. “Efficiency resource transactions help unite everyone in the building and on the Grid. And we’re thrilled to power some of these transactions in Seattle and other cities soon.”

Seattle City Light’s pilot, and efforts like it at other utilities, totally reimagine what used to be called energy efficiency incentives. With new analytical methods to accurately quantify and measure the drop in a building’s energy use over time, and by placing these newly-measured efficiency resources on monthly utility bills, utilities like Seattle help align the investments, payments, and benefits of deep energy efficiency retrofit projects with everyone inside an office building and connected to the Grid.

To learn more about Gridium’s energy development team and our approach to Energy Efficiency as a Service, please visit Gridium.com/eeas. To learn more about Seattle City Light’s pilot program, visit energysolutions.seattle.gov/energy-efficiency-as-a-service/.

About Gridium Inc.

Buildings use Gridium to save energy, finance retrofits, and streamline operations. All told, the company directly serves about 300 million square feet of buildings across the United States, and with Gridium, these buildings save millions of dollars on electricity, gas, and water utility bills, extend the useful lives of their assets, and data-drive their sustainable operations.

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Millen Paschich
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