Posts in Energy Efficiency
Keeping PACE in Texas honored as the 2013 Statewide Collaborative of the Year

We’re please to announce that Keeping PACE in Texas was honored as the 2013 Statewide Collaborative of the Year at the Texas Renewables 2013 Conference organized by the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association (TREIA). The award was presented to Keeping PACE in Texas “for building constituencies and coordinating the roll out of an innovative financing method for energy and water efficiency projects in Texas.” Keeping PACE in Texas is a non-profit business association organized for the purpose of promoting Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs throughout the state of Texas. Under the leadership of Executive Director Charlene Heydinger, KPT's first goal - the enactment of PACE-enabling legislation - was accomplished on June 14, 2013, with the passage of The Property Assessed Clean Energy Act.

KPT is now focused on assisting counties and municipalities with the creation, design, and implementation of locally-administered PACE programs. To this end, KPT is organizing a group of more than 50 stakeholders – property owners, lenders, energy service companies, industry trade associations, local governmental authorities, and others – in a collaboration to create uniform standards, documentation, and best practices for PACE financing programs in Texas. The effort takes into account best practices and lessons learned in other parts of the country.

Upon completion of this effort, KPT will assemble a tool kit, to be known as “PACE in a Box”, containing everything a county or municipality requires to establish effective PACE programs at the local or regional level throughout the state. The development of PACE in a Box will accelerate the implementation of PACE financing programs in Texas, enabling Texas to serve as a model for other states to follow as they implement their PACE programs.

PACE financing in Texas featured in Texas Tribune, New York Times

PACE News Property Assessed Clean Energy financing in Texas was front page news in the Texas Tribune and New York Times today, highlighting its effectiveness as a mechanism to boost energy efficiency.

"The approach, known as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, addresses the biggest barrier to efficiency investments: initial costs that can take years to recoup. A law allowing cities and counties to set up programs passed this year with overwhelming support in the Legislature.

PACE allows the owners of commercial and industrial property to use a property tax lien to finance energy efficiency upgrades like solar panels and water recycling systems. PACE programs bill an owner through the lien and forward payments to a private lender. Under a smooth-running program, property owners pay less than what they save on their energy bills. If a property is sold, the new owner would inherit the debt — a rule meant to further reduce the risks of investment."

For more information about PACE in Texas, visit

Source: Texas Tribune, New York Times

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Approves PACE Program for Low-Cost Financing of Water, Energy Conservation Projects

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed legislation allowing local property taxing authorities to enact ordinances enabling Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across the state. PACE financing will allow commercial and industrial building owners to obtain low-cost, long-term private sector financing for water conservation and energy-efficiency improvements. With Gov. Perry’s signature, the PACE program is effective immediately. The Texas PACE Act places emphasis on energy and water saving retrofits in industrial and commercial properties, effectively incentivizing some of the largest energy consumers in the country to reduce their consumption. Texas consumes more electricity than any other state, and industry accounts for almost half of that energy use, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

New efficiencies in equipment and processes - including some efficiencies identified through the US BCSD's By-Product and Water Synergy methodologies - will dramatically lower water usage, energy needs and costs, as well as reduced waste and disposal costs. PACE districts have been authorized in 30 states, with impressive financial benefits already apparent. Recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a $65,000 project to improve lighting, insulation, heating and cooling systems and reducing water use at a commercial property was completed and projected savings for tenants in energy costs range from $500 to $5,000 a year.

For the last nine years, CEOs have ranked Texas as the best state in which to do business. “PACE will help Texans meet the conservation goals in our State Water Plan and reduce demand on our electric grid,” says Sen. John Carona, sponsor of SB 385. “These savings will benefit the building owners directly and help keep the Texas economic engine primed for growth and prepared for the continuing influx of people moving to Texas to share in our prosperity.”

Accelerating Sustainable Solutions through Transformative Business Education

The US BCSD, WBCSD, and deans and professors from Yale School of Management and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies met last week to accelerate sustainable solutions through business education. This partnership opportunity aligns the WBCSD global business community, its Regional Network, and the Global Network for Advanced Management to pursue co-development of transformative business education, extensive research opportunities, and regional project collaboration.

In the complex world of scaling up business solutions to sustainability, top universities, particularly business and management schools, have a key role to play in educating the leaders of today and tomorrow. Partnership with the WBCSD provides access to senior executives of companies who are at the forefront of corporate sustainable innovation and practices, and equally important, access to its Regional Network which provides regionally specific insights on corporate sustainability project opportunities and barriers.

The Global Network for Advanced Management brings together 23 universities from 23 countries of varying regions, cultures, and economies in different phases of development. The coalition of universities work together on four key goal challenges, one of which is sustainability. Students from participating schools travel for a week of intensive study organized around a theme, company visits, and networking. Geographically, 20 of the 23 universities are located in countries with strong WBCSD Regional Network affiliates.

By partnering with a university consortium like the Global Network for Advanced Management that shares our sense of urgency on sustainability, we're providing our members with a groundbreaking new opportunity create innovative sustainability solutions and foster the appropriate framework conditions to bring them to scale.

US BCSD Winter Meeting 2013 Recap

US BCSD members and other sustainability experts came from around the country to the University of Texas at Austin to grapple with the complexities of scaling up solutions to Vision 2050 through collaborative learning and real, actionable regional projects.

The US BCSD Winter Meeting was unique this year in its diverse assembly of participants, creating a rare opportunity for sustainability professionals from multiple industries to collaborate and learn alongside cutting edge researchers and federal, state and local policymakers. A number of highly actionable outcomes were created as a result.

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Scale up Solutions: Winter Meeting 2013

Join us this February 6-7, 2013 for our Winter Meeting in Austin, Texas. Collaborate, share, and build strategies with US BCSD members and other sustainability experts to tackle sustainable development challenges impacting your business. Grapple with the complexities of scaling up solutions to Vision 2050 through collective learning and real, actionable regional projects in the US. Join together here to learn from one another and apply our collective expertise in groundbreaking new ways.

Click here to visit our meeting website, and register today.

Operationalizing Vision 2050: First Quarter Report

On June 27-28, 2012, US BCSD and WBCSD members, government, academic, NGO, and other sustainability thought leaders gathered at Yale University’s Center for Business and the Environment to define directions to reach a sustainable world in which nine billion people can live well and within the planet’s resources by 2050. Meeting attendees worked on partnerships, synergies and projects that combined US BCSD regional implementation strategies with the WBCSD’s global business solutions, using the framework of the WBCSD’s Vision 2050 sustainability pathway. Attendees discussed examples of successful activities already under way to achieve Vision 2050 “must haves” and sought out ways to help articulate, acknowledge and scale those activities. They then joined forces in an innovation workshop aimed at seeking out and encouraging step changes towards the Vision 2050 in the US.

Organized under four Vision 2050 focus areas, below are updates from regional US BCSD projects, new developments from the WBCSD work program, and member case studies from around the US.

We'd love to feature your organization's good work in our next quarterly report - respond to a our survey questions here and let us know what you've been up to.


US BCSD and WBCSD members participating in the Yale meeting identified three high priority action items, responding to Vision 2050 “must haves” calling for deeper local environmental understanding, using ecosystems and enterprises to help create value, and building commitment to true value pricing.

Engage with US BCSD members to design a Business Ecosystems Training (BET) workshop (using the WBCSD BET modules) to enable decision makers in your organization to identify business opportunities available through an understanding of ecosystem services.

The US BCSD and WBCSD, with key partners, are customizing the WBCSD BET training modules for the U.S. business audience. Several regional workshops are being planned throughout the US in 2013. The workshops will be delivered via interactive webinars and 1-day in-person intensive workshops. The goal of the BET workshop is to enable EHS and sustainability professionals to integrate ecosystems thinking into their company’s operations to manage ecosystem services opportunities and risk associated with their company operations and supply chains. This program builds on several WBCSD-led business training sessions held around the world in 2012. For more information please contact Kieran Sikdar at or Jessica McGlyn at

Utilize the US BCSD’s Eco-Green Brownfield process to capture economic value from ecosystem services for your company’s operations through biodiversity and ecological restoration projects.

In August 2012 the US BCSD and cement manufacturer Essroc began development of a pilot project within the Delaware River Watershed to restore ecosystem services related to water quality through stream restoration, reforestation and other ecological restoration techniques. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Habitat Council to achieve the Wildlife At Work and Corporate Lands for Learning certifications and increase the wildlife habitat and biodiversity of the site. The US BCSD will utilize ecosystem valuation techniques to capture the full value of the ecosystem goods and services provided through the project. A case study will be prepared in 2013 for replication at other US BCSD member company sites.

Contribute to the US BCSD & WBCSD’s case study library of successful projects with an emphasis on measurable results and innovative collaborative business solutions.

On September 8, 2012 the WBCSD introduced solutions from some of the largest companies in the world with the launch of Biodiversity and ecosystem services: scaling up business solutions. The report, featuring 25 case studies, sends a strong business message that companies are scaling up solutions to ecosystems challenges and demonstrating a positive response to achieving global biodiversity targets. Peter Bakker, WBCSD President, noted: “Business is a major player in helping to minimize negative impacts on our ecosystems and this new publication gives real examples from our member companies, showing how it can be done. While there is no doubt that the challenges associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss are huge and complex, our case studies collection shows that business is starting to tackle them. We need to now focus on scaling them up and implementing them at speed.”Click here to access the full report. WBCSD members also featured additional case studies at the World Congressional Congress, available at this link, and at the WCC WBCSD-IUCN Business and Ecosystems Think Tank which focused on scaling up business and public policy solutions.


US BCSD and WBCSD members participating at Yale identified two action items for Energy, responding to Vision 2050 must haves calling for demand-side efficiency, infrastructure investment, corporate leadership, new financing models, and water efficiency.

Take Action on Energy in Buildings with the WBCSD’s EEB 2.0 project.

The WBCSD Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2.0 project works with key decision-makers who are responsible for, or have influence over, substantial building portfolios in the public and private sectors. Over the course of up to 10 selected engagements, the project will develop a replicable process for bringing key decision-makers and relevant stakeholders together to identify practicable energy efficiency solutions in the portfolios they control, and leverage these solutions as examples for others.

The Take Action on Energy in Buildings flyer was produced to summarize EEB 2.0’s approach and objectives. The project begins with a “Phase 0” period during which the working group has been finalizing the project’s objectives and scope, the company mix and the partnerships. The companies involved in phase 0 so far are: AGC Asahi Glass, EDF, GDF SUEZ, Lafarge, Schneider Electric, SGS, Skanska, United Technologies (Project Chair) and Saint-Gobain. These companies have been working with key partner organizations that are critical in executing EEB 2.0’s objectives including the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and its regional network, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Promote understanding and growth of PACE and other innovative financing models through expert examination and distribution of program results.

In late 2011, US BCSD member and PACE financing provider Ygrene Energy Fund signed a contract with the City of Sacramento to provide no-risk administration of the city's first-ever Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for commercial building owners. Concurrently, in September 2012 the US BCSD began development on a By-Product Synergy project in the region, which will leverage PACE financing as a valuable solution to overcome capital barriers in implementing identified synergy opportunities. US BCSD and WBCSD members with facilities in the East Bay and Sacramento area are encouraged to contact us for more information.

Sustainable Consumption

Yale meeting participants identified four action items for Sustainable Consumption, responding to Vision 2050 must haves calling for collaboration, innovation, systems thinking, shift to value net models, and business leadership.

Engage with trade associations to gain commitments and better integration of sustainability goals into supplier relationships.

The WBCSD released a how-to guide to increase business competitiveness with sustainable value chains in early 2012 titled “Collaboration, innovation, transformation. Ideas and inspiration to accelerate sustainable growth – A value chain approach”. The guide was developed by the WBCSD’s Sustainable Value Chain Workstream, with leadership from Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company; and includes case studies from AkzoNobel, The Coca-Cola Company, Henkel, Philips, Procter & Gamble, SABIC, Solvay, Sompo Japan Insurance, TNT, Umicore and Unilever. Sustainable Consumption was a key focus of the WBCSD-US Annual Meeting, which emphasized the critical role that business must play in innovation, choice editing and choice influencing to increase sustainable consumption across the entire value chain. WBCSD members will be scoping out the next phase of this effort at their annual meeting in Seoul, Korea.

Help US BCSD members publicize and share successful programs.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology - a peer-reviewed, international bimonthly journal that examines the relationship between industry and the environment from the perspective of the growing field of industrial ecology - released a special issue focused on industrial symbiosis. The issue shows that more systematic empirical work is emerging on the various forms of symbiosis, and points to the need for industrial symbiosis to become more widespread. The JIE also compiled a selection of previously published articles on the topic to accompany this special issue, which can be found at

The JIE is currently seeking articles for a special issue on Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage in Business by June 1, 2013. (Submission of abstracts for review and feedback prior to that date, while not required, is strongly encouraged.) The goal of the special issue is to explore how the concepts and tools of industrial ecology can and do serve as a source of competitive advantage for firms, groups of firms and industry sectors. The complete call for papers can be found at

Capture the approach outlined by the innovation team to establish a national materials organization to be used internally with CEO-level leaders to seek their input.

The US BCSD is working to create a National By-Product Synergy Network to engage more companies and communities to achieve their sustainability objectives through collaboration. With appropriate policy and a multi-industry US Council for Resource Recovery chaired by senior company leadership, a critical mass of companies can create a resilient national network to implement synergy projects and disseminate BPS best practices that are scalable. The US BCSD will strategically engage industries from all parts of a supply chain from raw materials, intermediate and final products, retail and end of life to participate in the National BPS Network. The US Council for Resource Recovery will provide guidance, vision and strategy to create a thriving collaboration that meets the sustainability demands of U.S. businesses.

Determine what’s usable data and how much data is needed in order to gain more participation in material reuse markets.

The cornerstone of the By-Product Synergy collaborative process is confidentiality. The US BCSD has developed project agreements as a part of the BPS process with the appropriate level of confidentiality to maximize company protection and participation while sharing the necessary data to identify and implement synergy projects. The US BCSD Expeditor model has been developed to provide additional facilitation of synergy identification, barrier resolution and project implementation in order to maximize the economic and environmental benefits for participants who may not have all the resources or expertise to implement synergy projects.

Initial data collection has been optimized to collect the minimum data for the synergy identification process in order to minimize resources spent on data gathering. The improved cirrus™ interface facilitates this process through two phases of data input to give participants the appropriate level of data for the synergy process. The US BCSD continues to develop new methods to search and extract useful synergy information to facilitate the synergy implementation process.


And last, updates on action items from the Yale water breakout group. Actions respond to Vision 2050 must haves for increased attention on water, increase in water efficiency, local and corporate leadership, integrated urban management, and infrastructure investment.

Extend the US BCSD Water Synergy Project to more locations, offering a platform for working beyond your fenceline with other watershed users to identify and address issues related to water quality, quantity, and resiliency.

The US BCSD’s Water Synergy Project demonstrates how a watershed project can be implemented in a region, in this case southern Louisiana. The project is off to a great start with participants from 24 organizations representing multiple industries working together under the US BCSD’s structured collaboration work process to address issues in five areas: Wetlands, Numeric Nutrient Criteria Issues, Switching Water Supplies, Water System Collaboration, and Alternative Levee Materials. The project held it’s second working meeting on August 8, 2012 at Marathon Petroleum’s Refinery in Garyville, LA. Participants discussed a number of topics, including the importance for Louisiana stakeholders to work together proactively to establish baseline nutrient contributions and work with Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality on establishing numeric nutrient criteria; coastal resiliency incentives for assimilated and constructed wetlands to handle storm water and process water; and potential areas in Louisiana for water supply collaboration.

Create a Water Technology R&D Clearinghouse for existing technologies to facilitate best practice sharing.

WBCSD’s work on “Scaling Up Industrial Water Reuse” is developing a website to provide clear definition of water reuse; synchronize information scattered in many places; and provide an inventory of case studies, best practices, solutions and resources. In 2013, this program will also create decision tools for water reuse and start implementing pilot projects across sector and geography to create a platform to scale-up water reuse.

Show leadership by collaborating across boundaries (NGO, public/private collaboration) to share risk and opportunities.

The WBCSD’s Water Stewardship pathway, led by PepsiCo, works to enhance members’ water stewardship practices by advocating for cost effective, credible and operational tools and accelerating watershed-level responses. They will be publishing a Corporate Watershed Engagement Brief in 4Q 2012 and are exploring opportunities to catalyze action through projects on the ground. Also, the WBCSD’s “Water, Energy, Food Nexus” program is using a multi-stakeholder process to understand linkages among water, energy, and food/fiber/feed at the global and geographic level and develop policy and technology options to address the identified challenges.

Veolia Water has been testing innovative models for cities, offering larger cities an attractive alternative to the traditional operations and maintenance model called Peer Performance Solutions. Peer Performance Solutions preserves a public workforce and public governance but infuses private-sector expertise, leveraging Veolia’s unique global strength to provide innovative, flexible and cost-effective solutions. The model is currently implemented in New York City and Winnipeg, Manitoba. In New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection expects to save more than $100 million annually in their operating budget for water and wastewater services. And in Winnipeg, Veolia is helping design long-term, wastewater treatment facilities capital solutions via a public workforce. For more information, visit

Explore mechanisms to be sure water is part of any company innovation process, especially local issues.

On August 20, 2012, the WBCSD Water Stewardship pathway released Water for Business (W4Biz) Version 3. This upgrade to the e-report (first launched in 2009) covers 18 initiatives to support business in becoming responsible water stewards. Developed with IUCN and SustainAbility, this version includes key messages to tool developers and users, and a framework to connect tools to business needs, including research & development for new products. W4Biz helped structure a seminar at World Water Week, co-convened with WRI and WFN, calling for harmonization across initiatives. See the Water Management Tools section of the WBCSD website for more information.

Valuing water more effectively will facilitate integration of water into business innovation processes. In 4Q 2012, WBCSD’s “True Value of Water” program will be publishing “Water Valuation: Building the Business Case” and a complementary report on “ Valuing Water: an Introduction to Concepts and Techniques”, both of which are based on a collection of business valuation case studies.

We'd love to feature your organization's good work in our next quarterly report - respond to a our survey questions here and let us know what you've been up to.

Spring Meeting 2012: Collaborate Today, Change Tomorrow

What’s helping us achieve a sustainable world and how do we scale it, brought close to 100 US BCSD and WBCSD members, government, academic and NGO colleagues, and other sustainability thought leaders to Yale University's Center for Business and the Environment on June 27-28, 2012. The working agenda stressed collaboration first and foremost in defining directions to reach a sustainable world in which nine billion people can live well and within the planet’s resources by 2050. Meeting attendees worked on partnerships, synergies and productive work outcomes that combined US BCSD regional implementation strategies with the WBCSD’s global Vision 2050 sustainability pathway. Over two days, attendees discussed examples of successful activities already under way to achieve Vision 2050 “must haves” and sought out ways to help articulate, acknowledge and scale those activities. They then joined forces in an innovation workshop aimed at seeking out and encouraging step changes towards the Vision 2050 in the US. Interspersed in this engaging group discussion were presentations and panels from sustainability thought leaders focusing on new financing mechanisms, organizational design, new collaboration opportunities, and examples of groundbreaking innovations highlighted in the breakout group pages below.

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Rio+20: Initiative highlights North American innovation in green building and sustainable cities

The US BCSD's national By-Product Synergy network and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing model were highlighted by The Guardian for their role in spearheading the transition to low-energy, cost-saving, resource-efficient buildings and operations in well-planned, sustainable cities.

"Many cities in the US and Canada are already seizing opportunities and channelling traditional North American resourcefulness and creativity into re-making buildings and cities in the image of a society where everyone can live well within planetary boundaries. Here are a few examples of private and public innovators that are already spearheading such transitions:

The US Business Council for Sustainable Development - a regional partner of the WBCSD - has active by-product synergy projects in six municipalities across the country. By-product synergy is the matching of under-valued waste or by-product streams from one facility with potential users at another facility to create new revenues or savings with potential social and environmental benefits. These collaborative networks create new revenues, cost savings, energy conservation, reductions in the need for virgin-source materials, and reductions in waste and pollution, including climate-changing emissions.

To help finance viable material reuse as well as energy and renewable retrofit projects, the US Business Council for Sustainable Development has teamed up with Barclays Capital and Ygrene Energy Fund to offer innovative private sector financing arrangements. This effort allows companies to upgrade their facilities with more efficient equipment and processes, cities to stimulate economic development and job creation, and the financial partners to receive solid returns on secure investments – all with zero government funding. Repayment is secured by a tax lien on the property, amortised over the life of the improvements. Efficiency improvements lower energy bills and free up money to cover the tax payments. (The Guardian)

For more information on By-Product Synergy and the PACE financing model, please visit, our website dedicated to BPS and our growing network of projects.