Last week, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance(“BNEF”) hosted 150 property owners, energy efficiency project developers, ESCOs, banks, institutional investors and other thought leaders to discuss how improved datasets could spur the market for energy efficiency (EE) investment. Dan Doctoroff, Bloomberg’s CEO, kicked off the morning by discussing the company’s plans to provide this data and how similar efforts have spurred financial innovation in the past.
Three types of energy efficiency data were the basis of most of the conversation:
Project Performance Data – Accurately forecasting the energy savings from a retrofit project remains an elusive goal due to wide variance in benchmarking and forecasting standards. Chris Lohmann of the Department of Energy discussed a large database that he is developing that will attempt to provide comparisons to historical projects. Elizabeth Stein of EDF discussed a project that she is leading to develop a standardized methodology for estimating savings and pointed out that robust standards for comparing projects will substantially enhance the value of an EE project performance database.
Benchmarking Data – New York, San Francisco and other cities have taken steps to benchmark energy usage for commercial tenants. Riggs Kubiak of Honest Buildings discussed how his company is publishing this data on the web and believes it will allow prospective tenants to compare properties and spur landlords to invest in EE projects.
EE Loan Performance Data – While several EE loan programs have shown strong repayment performance to date, the rating agencies will need a far longer history in order to provide the best terms for securitizations. On-Bill Repayment (OBR) may be able to benefit from the long history of utility bill payments to create a data stream for the rating agencies.
EDF looks forward to working with Bloomberg and other market participants on each of these initiatives.