WinnCompanies has launched Open Market ESCO, a pilot program that will finance energy-efficient retrofits for an estimated 1,200 units of low-income housing and allow property owners to pay for the upgrades through reduced energy costs.
The $9 million pilot program is a collaboration with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and was established in part with a $5.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Energy Innovation Fund. The Open Market ESCO program will begin operations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York City.
“We are looking forward to spearheading a program that is the first of its kind in the industry and also for us as a company,” said Darien Crimmin, vice president of Energy and Sustainability at WinnDevelopment.
“Winn has long been committed to improving the energy efficiency of affordable housing communities and this grant provides us with an incredible opportunity to take our work a step further.”
HUD awarded nearly $23 million to a dozen organizations on the cutting edge of bringing energy-saving solutions to the housing market. Of all the grantees, WinnCompanies received the largest award.
The pilot program creates a new Multifamily Energy Loan Fund and integrates it with an energy services company (ESCO).
Open Market ESCO provides property owners with energy conservation services for 12-15 years.
To qualify for the program, low-income housing developments must have the potential to save at least 20 percent on their energy costs.
Property owners will not take on new debt or incur significant upfront costs that would typically be associated with retrofit projects.
Instead, the costs are covered by monthly energy savings, with a portion of savings being shared with property owners.
In addition to financing and services, the Open Market ESCO program is establishing a competitive network of qualified subcontractors and energy professionals to conduct all work.