PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB) and the state's Office of Energy Resources today announced a partnership with National Grid to provide free energy audits to municipalities, school districts and quasi-public state agencies.
"Understanding how we currently use energy is the first step to making smart investments in our state's energy future," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "I encourage cities and towns to take advantage of these free energy audits, and to submit applications to the Efficient Buildings Fund. The Efficient Building Fund is putting people back to work rebuilding our infrastructure, helping cities and towns save money on energy bills, and preserving our environment for the next generation of Rhode Islanders."
The free energy audits will examine existing heating and lighting systems in public buildings and estimate the cost savings that would be achieved through an energy retrofit. National Grid's contracted engineers will conduct facility tours, study past energy bills and usage, and consult with building occupants to identify inefficiencies. The audits will recommend specific strategies and investments that cities and towns can implement to reduce their energy usage.
"The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank's Efficient Buildings Fund will put our state's building and construction trades to work making our public buildings more energy efficient," General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said. "I encourage cities and towns across Rhode Island to apply for a free energy audit to determine how their public buildings can save money and reduce carbon emissions."
The Office of Energy Resources and the RIIB have conducted outreach to officials in every city and town in Rhode Island to inform them about the free energy audit program and the EBF. Twenty-eight municipalities and school departments have already signed up for the audits, which are scheduled to begin next week. Requests to participate in the free energy audit program must be submitted to Jerry Drummond of National Grid by the close of business on Thursday, December 10, 2015.
"The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is pleased to partner with the Office of Energy Resources and National Grid to provide this free resource," said Merrill Sherman, Chairman of the Board of the RIIB. "We hope that by providing energy audits, we will encourage more municipalities to take the first step toward investing in energy efficiency. Investments in green infrastructure can be a 'win-win' for any municipality – allowing them to both save money and build a more sustainable future."
Proposals for the RIIB's Efficient Buildings Fund (EBF), a revolving loan program that provides low-cost capital to public entities for projects that promote energy efficiency, must include the findings of a recent energy audit.
Eligible projects for EBF financing include cost-effective energy efficiency measures and the installation of renewable infrastructure, including solar panels and wind turbines. Municipalities, school districts, and quasi-public agencies are eligible to submit proposals for the EBF.
"The Efficient Buildings Fund builds on the success we have achieved through the Rhode Island Public Energy Partnership," said Marion Gold, State Energy Commissioner. "Through our partnership with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and National Grid, municipalities, school districts, and quasi-public state agencies can now receive a free energy audit. This opportunity serves as an incentive for any eligible entity that is interested in making its building more energy efficient. All eligible applicants should reach out to National Grid and schedule their audit as soon as possible." Staff at the Office of Energy Resources will evaluate the proposals and produce a scored list of projects approved for financing. Proposals that are shovel-ready and reduce energy usage by at least 20 percent will receive higher scores. The RIIB will leverage its AAA bond rating to provide financing for EBF-funded projects at low interest rates. "Energy efficiency is an important part of our New England Energy Strategy," said Timothy F. Horan, President of National Grid in Rhode Island. "National Grid is a proud partner in Rhode Island's efforts to build a more energy efficient future." The Office of Energy Resources is now accepting proposals for the EBF. Proposals are due on Friday, January 22, 2016
About the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank ("RIIB"), formerly known as the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency, is a quasi-public agency which serves as the financial administrator of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. The Bank issues bonds, the proceeds of which are used to provide low cost financing to Rhode Island's municipalities and sewer and water utilities for infrastructure projects to enhance the waters of the State. Recently enacted legislation changed the name of the agency and expanded its powers to administer newly created programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in public, commercial, and residential properties. For more information visit http://www.riinfrastructurebank.com/