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Greening Louisville
From the city zoo to the city hall, Louisville is improving the quality of life for residents while decreasing energy use.
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Challenge
With high-maintenance building equipment decades past its life expectancy and limited available capital, Mayor Greg Fischer and others needed a solutions provider that would offer a creative way to finance the effort of decreasing the city’s per capital energy use 25 percent by 2025.
Solution
The Johnson Controls team designed a plan that would include nearly $27 million in energy-efficient upgrades and repairs in municipal-owned buildings, without the need for Louisville Metro to provide capital or assume financial risk.
 
Under an energy savings performance contract, facility improvements would be paid for up front by Johnson Controls and guaranteed to generate enough savings to pay for themselves over time. And if the savings were to fall short, Johnson Controls would assume financial liability. 
 
"When you have limited resources it's important that you get results, and that you're only paying for success," said the city's Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland. "This approach with Johnson Controls allows us to meet that objective, and without us having to put up the capital." And, as an added bonus, because the funding mechanism doesn't affect Louisville Metro's bond capacity, it frees up capacity for other critical projects.
 
Results
Combined, the improvements are expected to result in:
  • Reduced energy use: The performance contract guarantees $2.7 million in annual energy savings.
  • Reduced water use: In less than a year, the Louisville Metro buildings used 395,000 fewer gallons of water.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions:  the city will reduce CO2 emissions by 19,900 metric tons annually, which is equal to removing 4,100 vehicles from the road.
In addition to the results guaranteed in the energy savings performance contract, the project is expected to have a positive impact on the Louisville Metro economy, by:
  • Creating jobs and attracting new business: The project has created 400 jobs with 90% remaining in the community. The program is using local contractors and engineering partners and is also expected to exceed Louisville Metro's targets for participation from minority- and women-owned businesses. The city's Director of Sustainability Maria Koetter hopes the efforts will help to foster economic development. "We want potential new businesses to understand we are committed to clean air and clean water and sustainability - today, and for the future."
  • Encouraging residents to join the effort: As the city's energy and water conservation efforts begin to take shape, leaders hope the success of those projects will encourage individuals to become greater stewards of the environment, too. Through citizen engagement and education initiatives, planners are creating a culture of sustainability they hope will ultimately make Louisville a healthier and more desirable city.
Encouraging residents to join the effort: As the city's energy and water conservation efforts begin to take shape, leaders hope the success of those projects will encourage individuals to become greater stewards of the environment, too. Through citizen engagement and education initiatives, planners are creating a culture of sustainability they hope will ultimately make Louisville a healthier and more desirable city.
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