By Susan Patel

In the past few years, Philadelphia has been “green” to a level above reduce, reuse and recycle. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability have set the ambitious goal to reduce its vulnerability to rising energy prices andhave coordinated to make capital available to businesses to attain this goal.

At a time when access to capital is constrained, the City of Philadelphia created the GreenWorks Loan and Rebate Fund in 2010 to help businesses as hotels finance energy efficiency building practices, materials and equipment for major renovations and new construction projects. In addition, there is the Green Roofs Tax Credit and the Pennsylvania Green Energy Loan Program.

Good news! Funding is available for that 2011 energy efficiency project your sustainability team has been pushing for. It’s not only a good idea to keep up with competition, but also essential as Pennsylvania deregulated the electricity market that has only resulted in higher rates and increasing operating costs. An energy efficiency project might just be the long term solution to rising costs and energy use. Here are few key details about each of the programs:

Green Roofs Tax Credit
To qualify, you must own or operate a business within the City of Philadelphia and therefore pay the Business Privelege Tax. This is required because the incentive is issued in the form of “a credit against the Business Privilege Tax of 25% of all costs actually incurred to construct the Green Roof, provided that the total credit shall not exceed $100,000.”

GreenWorks Small Business Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Offers up to $10,000 or 50% of a project’s cost to small businesses and property owners with commercial space who plan to make improvements that increase the hotel’s energy efficiency. The rebate is only available for projects that have not yet been implemented. Funds are limited.

GreenWorks Loan Fund
Financing will be targeted to projects with energy savings potential which also result in job creation. Loan amount ranges $100,000 to $1 million with financing not exceeding 85% of project costs for retrofits or 33% of project costs for new construction. Interest rates may range between 3.5% to 6.5%.

Pennsylvania Green Energy Loan Fund
This state loan program will operate as a revolving loan program where the fund is replenished by interest and principal repayments made on prior loans. In order to qualify for a loan, a project must result in an estimated energy consumption reduction of at least 25%. Loans are available in amounts from roughly $100,000 to $2.5 million. Interest rates will be determined on a case-by-case basis but are generally expected to be from 4.0% to 6.5%.

Although most management deem finding the capital for hotel energy efficiency projects to be the hardest task, don’t underestimate the planning, project management and paperwork involved in simply submitting an application for the program, which makes no guarantees. To get it done right the first time around, minimize costs and utilize employee time efficiently, hotel management should consider consulting a professional energy efficiency advisor.

Click here for Incentives, Rebates and Loan Programs by State

Energy Efficiency rebates, tax and loan funding information can be found on Phila.gov and DSIREusa.org (SOURCES). All programs are subject to change and expiration depending on avaiilability of funds as well as local and state plans.

About EcoGreenHotel
EcoGreenHotel LLC (Robbinsville, NJ), is a privately held company dedicated to helping lodging facilities address a broad spectrum of sustainability issues. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. The company also runs an online marketplace for green products and services at www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. In addition to the online offerings, EcoGreenHotel provides customized consulting services tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry in the areas of energy efficiency and certifications, including LEED, Green Seal and Energy Star. For those properties that have reached certified levels of sustainability, EcoGreenHotel assists with marketing services to position the properties within the growing “green” space and enhance revenue. For further information, email info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

About Author
Susan Patel, VP of Technologies & Communications received her B.S. in Economics from Rutgers College at New Brunswick and has over six years of financial and investment analyst experience. Driven by her passion for sustainability and economic development since childhood and through philanthropic adventures internationally, Susan now leads business development and operations at EcoGreenHotel and is the Site Director and Managing Editor of EcoGreenHotel online publications.

SociBook del.icio.us Digg Facebook Google Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>