The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        Northwood City Council at a meeting earlier this month established the city as an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID).

        The designation allows the city to apply for low interest loans for energy efficient projects. Businesses can also apply for funding to invest in energy upgrades. The loans can cover a variety of energy projects, including high efficiency furnaces, windows and insulation, and alternative energy devices. It also allows repayment of the loan via property tax assessments over a period of years.

        Northwood plans to make $70,000 in energy efficiency retrofits to some city owned buildings, including lighting upgrades to the municipal complex and the old fire station on Andrus Road, according to Northwood City Administrator Bob Anderson, who is representing Northwood on the board of directors of the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement District.

        “We’re using it as another economic development tool,” said Anderson. As a result of a study, the city will save over $150,000 to make the upgrades, he added.

        “We’re going to save enough money as a result of the upgrades to pay the loan back over a period of three and a half years,” he said.

        One of the objectives of establishing the ESID is that it will help businesses and municipalities lower the costs of heating, cooling and lighting in their buildings.

        “In order for Northwood to join the district, we had to have a pilot project. So we decided we’d make ourselves the first project and improve all the lighting in our buildings,” said Anderson.

        “Now that we are a district, businesses can approach the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement District and apply for a loan and make their own improvements,” he said. “So if Marcos Pizza or Johnson Controls want to avail themselves of this, they could. Their projects would still have to qualify, and they have to show a cost benefit.”

        Northwood joins many other communities in the area that created ESIDs in the last eight years and became members of the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement District. It is the first city in Wood County to become a member, according Anderson.

 

Legislation

        In June, 2010, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill that allows for the establishment of ESIDs. Property owners within the district can pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on their properties by way of special assessments. The process is voluntary. Property owners are not required to participate.

        In 2010, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the City of Toledo were awarded a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy Better Building Program grant, which aims to implement the wide-scale use of energy efficiency and alternative energy practices and solutions in commercial, governmental and industrial facilities throughout the region. The following year, the Port petitioned Toledo to create an ESID.

        On July 19, 2012, the corporation’s board of directors approved adding Oregon to the district and agreed to jointly petition the city to approve an expansion of the district to encompass the geographical boundaries of the city.

        Toledo created its own ESID in 2011.

        Other communities in the area that have active districts include Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania and Sylvania Township.

        Some of the energy upgrades that can be funded through ESID funding include solar thermal electric, solar thermal process heat, solar water heat, wind, biomass, geothermal direct-use energy, and geothermal heat pumps.

Pump system

        Oregon’s first project was making energy efficiency improvements to its main municipal complex. The city installed a ground source closed-loop geothermal heat pump system that saved the city tens of thousands of dollars with a simple payback of 5.2 years. “We are saving money by using less electricity and less natural gas,” City Administrator Mike Beazley told The Press last week.

        “It is not grant funding,” he added. “It’s really just a way of accessing financing dollars that in some cases works out very well for businesses. The primary goal is to encourage businesses to invest in projects that would otherwise be hard for them to justify. The payback is through the assessment on property taxes over a period of years depending on the duration of the project. It mainly allows businesses or government to invest in energy efficiency and have it paid back over time. And it works.”

        The Port actively promotes the expansion of the district into other communities. Those that have active districts, or are “districts in process,” include Port Clinton, Swanton, Fremont, Monclova, North Baltimore, Ada, Fairlawn, Galion, Findlay, Lima and Marion.

        The district has undertaken projects involving voluntary assessments for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s Martin Luther King, Jr. train station, its headquarters building at One Maritime Plaza, Port Authority parking garages, approximately 40 City of Toledo buildings and facilities, and the United Autoworker’s building at 2300 Ashland Avenue in Toledo.

               

       

 

 

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