Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Seed Funding: $25 million
Target Building Types: Residential, commercial, industrial, government, and educational institutions
Energize Phoenix: Collecting and Using Data to Improve the Program May 20, 2011
Better Buildings Grantees: Green Zones November 9, 2010
Energizing Efficiency Upgrades in a Phoenix, Arizona, Sustainability Corridor
Phoenix is no stranger to energy efficiency; the city has been making improvements to its municipal buildings for the past 30 years. In addition to this experience, Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability—the nation's first school focused on sustainability established in 2004—brings expertise in energy efficiency research and development, measurement, and training. Targeting sustainability efforts in neighborhoods with diverse building types, population demographics, and income levels, the university and the city have been testing various sustainability efforts in Phoenix.
To capitalize on existing efforts and take sustainability to the next level, the city created Energize Phoenix, a program that focuses on energy efficiency upgrades in neighborhoods adjacent to a 10-mile stretch of the light rail line. With $25 million in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Energize Phoenix aims to reduce energy use in residences and commercial buildings.
A Test Corridor for Energy Efficiency
A blend of diverse neighborhoods, commercial businesses, public institutions and offices, many of the Energize Phoenix Corridor's buildings are among the oldest in the city and ready to benefit from energy efficiency upgrades.
Researchers at Arizona State University will monitor the impact of Energize Phoenix on the community, especially how behavioral changes affect energy consumption. Energy dashboards will be installed in 200 homes along the Energize Phoenix Corridor, and the university will evaluate how these monitors influence residents' energy using behaviors.
Enhancing Existing Rebates and Filling the Gaps With Incentives
Arizona Public Service (APS), the local electric utility partner, has been providing rebates for energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization projects for more than five years. However, few people in the Energize Phoenix Corridor boundaries have taken advantage of these incentives. "Our goal is to raise awareness of the advantages of energy efficiency and of the incredible incentives available from APS and Energize Phoenix to make businesses and homes more energy efficient," said Dimitrios Laloudakis, Phoenix energy manager. "At the start of the program, we were getting calls from people that wanted to make sure these deals are real; now we are getting calls after the upgrades are complete thanking us for offering this exciting program."
For businesses and other commercial building owners, Energize Phoenix matches existing utility rebates. For many small businesses, the combination of incentives from the utility and Energize Phoenix can cover the entire project cost. Also, Energize Phoenix has established a revolving loan fund, in partnership with National Bank of Arizona, to provide low-interest commercial loans for energy improvement costs not covered by the incentive programs.
On the residential side, Energize Phoenix has several programs to help both homeowners and renters of all income levels. The rebate match program offers matching rebates for existing utility rebates, while the 60/40 program pays for 60% of the cost of a home upgrade, and the other 40% can be covered by a combination of utility incentives, a zero or low-interest loan or other funds. Lastly, the rental program provides conditional grants to apartment owners serving low to moderate income residents.
Tapping Into an Existing Workforce
Energize Phoenix is taking advantage of the existing network of robust and trained energy professionals currently working with APS programs. These professionals already know the utility offerings inside and out and are marketing energy efficiency improvements to homeowners and businesses in the community. Energize Phoenix requires professionals participating in the commercial program to be an APS Trade Ally and residential contractors must be Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® qualified.
In addition to creating more opportunity for energy professionals through increased demand for energy check-ups and upgrades, Energize Phoenix also expects demand will help create and support jobs for construction workers and outreach professionals.
U.S. Department of Energy
Better Buildings Neighborhood Program