Financing energy efficiency is both a tricky business and a no-brainer. But that’s starting to change — at least in Chicago. On Thursday, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which will leverage private investment for retrofits pending City Council approval.
The mayor was joined by Bill Clinton, who was just seen touting energy efficiency financing ideas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
For the Trust’s first project, Retrofit Chicago, the city of Chicago will work with debt and equity investors to finance $200 million to $225 million in retrofits in municipal buildings, which will reduce the energy consumption in those assets by 20 percent. Currently, the city spends $170 million annually on energy.