Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sustainable Solutions need Life Cycle thinking

Green technologies offer solutions that provide benefits for the life of the facility over 15 to 40 year life of the systems. Unfortunately the initial costs are high and this prevents many from moving forward with capital investments. Most private companies want 1-2 year payback and public agencies want 5-7 years. So the roadblock to faster implementation of green technologies is the availability of capital that can be paid back over longer time.
This is also an opportunity for sustainable green community leaders to help create economic development and retain jobs at local commercial & industrial plants. How to do it?
The communities have the legal authority to sell tax free bonds for public benefit projects. How about an issue of " Green Independence Bonds" to establish a revolving loan funds and give 10 year low interest loans to the tax payers to install specified green retrofits to save energy. Loan can be given against the value of property and billed with tax statements. In this way the annual savings could exceed the loan payment and who would not like to move forward? The money saved will help these applicant to invest in the community and promote economic development.
Some California based communities are following this path and we hope that every City, Town and Village takes advantage of this financing tool to take control and provide their own stimulus funds. This approach will provide sustainable source of money as repayment of loans is made from future savings.

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