Nearly 200 local business leaders and city officials recently gathered in Orlando, Florida, to share insights into the economic development opportunities of energy efficiency in a summit co-hosted by the city’s regional chamber of commerce, Orlando, Inc.
“The summit allowed us to focus on the economic development strategies needed to unlock the value of building efficiency as a means to stimulate economic growth and improve Orlando’s competitiveness,” said José A. Fajardo, Executive Vice President of Orlando, Inc.
“Energy efficiency has the potential to attract new businesses and investment opportunities, create jobs and develop a model of innovative and pragmatic leadership for other cities and states to follow,” Fajardo added.
The 2015 Orlando Green Economy Summit: Improving Your Bottom Line Through Building Efficiency included remarks from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, real estate leaders and senior executives from three of the world’s largest companies that recognize the economic opportunities in energy efficiency: Walmart, the world’s largest retailer; CBRE, the largest real estate services firm; and Siemens, the largest engineering and energy services company.
In a panel discussion, a range of local business leaders discussed the money they have saved by installing energy efficiency technology. The Nemours Children’s Hospital, for example, said it shaved about 2.5 percent off its $250,000 monthly electricity bill. And a local property developer reported on energy efficiency improvements that allowed residents to save about $100 a month on their utility bills.
Chris Castro, Senior Energy Advisory for the City of Orlando, said municipal leaders will continue to eliminate roadblocks to energy efficiency by:
- Enabling information about the energy and water use in buildings through energy benchmarking and energy audits;
- Unlocking new financing tools, such as Commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy);
- Unveiling a suite of workforce development training programs for building operators and technicians; and
- Working with local utilities to roll out a comprehensive energy management platform that will provide whole-building utility data, real-time consumption metrics, and new incentives and rebates to increase the adoption of building efficiency investments.
“These are core strategies to help our residents and businesses save money and prevent pollution,” Castro said, “but also create new high-tech, high-wage jobs and further diversify our local economy in Orlando.”