Lower Operating Expenses For Your Business
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 21:16

Boynton Beach’s ‘Green’energy program gets OK July 6, 2012, Hana Engroff Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Boynton Beach business owners will soon have more help “going green.” The city commission voted unanimously at its Tuesday meeting to opt-in to Florida Green Energy Works, a program that helps commercial property owners finance energy efficient and renewable energy projects for their facilities through a repayment program called Property Assessed Clean Energy.

“It’s a program where local property owners will benefit because it will offer long-term, safe financing,” said Carrise LeJeune, Boyn ton Beach interim assistant city manager. Lantana launched the program in May using a $341,000 Florida Clean Energy Grant provided by the state, said David Thatcher, the director of development services in Lantana.

The grant allowed Lantana to hire a team from EcoCity Partners, a West Palm Beach company, to help businesses find financing for these projects either through their own banks, PACE’s private equity fund called Clean Fund or another avenue. So far, no businesses have signed up for the program, Thatcher said.

Boynton Beach is joining Mangonia Park, West Palm Beach and Delray Beach, which have already opted-in. Creating a separate program for the city would have cost $400,000, LeJeune said. Joining the existing program will not cost anything, provided that the city continues the progr am for two consecutive years.

“In these tough economic times, there’s no one city that would have been able to do this on its own,” she said. At a Florida Green Energy Works outreach seminar in Boynton Beach that LeJeune attended in the spring, three Boynton Beach businesses expressed interest in the program, she said. “They were looking for the city commission to implement a program like this in Boynton Beach,” she said. “It’s an excellent business retention tool because you’re lowering the operating expenses of the business.”

Once approved for eligibility and financing, business owners begin the open-market program, meaning they hire their own contractors for “green” projects, such as solar installations, insulation improvements and heating/cooling systems. They then repay the loans through an annual property tax assessment, LeJeune said. But “they’ll start to realize immediate savings to energy bills.” The “green” initiatives will also increase property values, tax increment financing, revenue from permits, create more jobs and decrease the environmental impact on the city, she said.

“I like to say it’s a win-win situation for both the property owners and the city,” LeJeune said. Although only commercial properties would be allowed to participate in the program, there’s a possibility it will eventually include residential properties, she said.

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