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Connecting Clients to Incentive Opportunities

At O’Brien & Company, we know that sustainable building creates greater value for all parties involved. One way we support clients in realizing the many benefits of their commitments to sustainability is to help find the funding needed to go the extra mile to achieve their most ambitious green building goals. And there are many incentive programs out there to do just this, two of which are strong local programs with Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy.

With every one of our Seattle mid-rise projects, we share with the project team information about opportunities through the BuiltSmart program at Seattle City Light (SCL).  As early in design as possible, we introduce the owner and design team to SCL representatives who can walk them through the registration and qualification process.  We attend meetings between owners’ representatives and SCL to help facilitate, with our technical expertise, discussion and planning of their systems and energy specifications.  We monitor the progress during construction to make sure all documentation requirements are being met.  Periodically, we coordinate with SCL representatives to make sure our qualifying active projects are in line for all possible incentives.

With projects in Puget Sound Energy (PSE) territory, we also work to make connections between the owners and project teams and the PSE representatives who are in charge of the incentive programs.  Elan Redmond Town Center Apartments is an excellent example of a project that has taken advantage of these rewards for their sustainability efforts. This project is the first to sign up for PSE’s new performance path incentive, which is calculated after one year of performance and depends on actual energy use as compared to the final energy model.  This option allows for a larger incentive than the prescriptive path, if the energy performance goals are met or exceeded.  The building was already occupied when PSE needed to verify their systems, which meant the normal PSE inspections would have been very disruptive to the tenants.  O’Brien & Company supplied field verification data and photos to PSE to help verify that the project met some of the prescriptive requirements so that actual inspections could be avoided.  We also worked with the Elan team for assistance in documenting requirements.  Some possibilities with the PSE performance path incentives are partial payment at start of construction and reimbursement for all commissioning fees.

These incentives help encourage and support advanced green measures that bring lasting value to our built environment.  Developers get the financial leverage they need to be able to try new technologies and ideas.  The incentives help mitigate some of the risk of pursuing a practice or technology that is new to the team. They also promote technologies, building methods and design concepts that deliver higher return on investment, healthier homes and have less negative impact on the environment. At O’Brien & Company, we strive to bring incentive information to our clients as early in the design process as possible so that they can accomplish better energy performance, create more durable buildings and gain experience building to a deeper shade of green.

For more information on SCL incentives, contact Scott Cooper at scott.cooper@seattle.gov, 206-684-3901
For more information on PSE incentives, contact Mike Fowler at mike.fowler@pse.com, 425-456-2438

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