WinnCompanies launches Open Market ESCO with assistance from Bright Power


With technical assistance from Bright Power, WinnCompanies’ pilot program will fund energy-efficient retrofits for low-income housing.


HUD’s Energy Innovation Fund will provide funding for energy savings projects at affordable multifamily properties

BOSTON (June 22, 2013) – WinnCompanies announced today the launch of the Open Market ESCO, a pilot program that will finance energy-efficient retrofits for an estimated 1,200 units of low-income housing and allow property owners to pay for the upgrades through reduced energy costs.
The $9 million pilot program is a collaboration with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and was established in part with a $5.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Energy Innovation Fund. The Open Market ESCO program will begin operations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York City.

“We are looking forward to spearheading a program that is the first of its kind in the industry and also for us as a company,” said Darien Crimmin, Vice President of Energy and Sustainability at WinnDevelopment. “Winn has long been committed to improving the energy efficiency of affordable housing communities and this grant provides us with an incredible opportunity to take our work a step further.”
HUD awarded nearly $23 million to a dozen organizations on the cutting edge of bringing energy-saving solutions to the housing market. Of all the grantees, WinnCompanies received the largest award. The pilot program creates a new Multifamily Energy Loan Fund and integrates it with an energy services company (ESCO). Open Market ESCO provides property owners with energy Conservation services for 12-15 years.

LISC, a national nonprofit working to revitalize low-income communities, is providing an $8 million loan to help support the effort. “This program is important not just because it’s environmentally sound, but also because it is good for residents and neighborhoods,” said Richard Manson, LISC regional vice president in the Northeast. “The more we can help owners lower operational costs, the better able they are to keep rents affordable for lowincome families. And those families will be living in a healthier environment. This program is innovative and will have a significant impact on their quality of life.”
To qualify for the program, low-income housing developments must have the potential to save at least 20 percent on their energy costs. Property owners will not take on new debt or incur significant upfront costs that would typically be associated with retrofit projects.
Instead, the costs are covered by monthly energy savings, with a portion of savings being shared with property owners. In addition to funding from WinnCompanies, other financial support for the program is being provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Connecticut’s Clean Energy
Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC). Winn will also be partnering with Energi Insurance Services, Inc.,  which will provide the Open Market ESCO with Energy Savings Warranty insurance designed to backstop the guaranteed energy savings per-project, as well as Bright Power, Inc. and other engineering firms for technical assistance.

“This program creates an entirely new model to finance these cost-effective projects, allowing low- and moderate-income families across the Commonwealth to enjoy the benefits of clean energy and energy-efficiency,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.
In addition to financing and services, the Open Market ESCO program is establishing a competitive network of qualified subcontractors and energy professionals to conduct all work, thereby reducing overall costs and ensuring high-quality installations.

“We are excited to join in this public-private partnership—which aligns with Connecticut’s long-term Comprehensive Energy Strategies—providing additional opportunities for residents and building owners to engage in energy opportunities that result in cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy sources,” stated Bryan Garcia, President, CEFIA. “The Open Market ESCO partnership presents a tremendous opportunity for low-income property owners across New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut to take control of their energy
future and provide savings not only for themselves, but for their tenants as well.”
HUD’s Energy Innovation Fund was established to help begin a residential energy retrofit market in the United States by accelerating private investment in cost-saving energy efficiency retrofits in the residential sector. The goal of this groundbreaking pilot program is to develop innovative and replicable strategies that will improve the usefulness of existing HUD programs and help institute industry standards. The fund will also create new financing tools that will lead to significant reductions in energy consumption, operating costs and the carbon footprint of both affordable and market-rate housing.

“As a non-profit specialty finance company, NYCEEC is pleased to provide capital and expertise that enables affordable multifamily property owners in New York City to benefit from the WinnCompanies’ innovative, new Open Market ESCO program,” said Susan Leeds, NYCEEC’s Chief Executive Officer. “This program will help owners invest in comprehensive energy efficiency projects that can increase asset values, and will make their residential properties greener, cleaner and less costly to operate.”

“Energi is excited to work together with WinnCompanies and installation partner Open Market ESCO as part of the innovative solution to scaling energy efficiency within affordable housing communities,” said Kevin Kaminski, Senior Vice President of Alternative Energy Solutions at Energi.

WinnDevelopment has long been at the forefront of green building and sustainability and has completed multiple energy efficiency renovation projects at its properties. This fall, Winn completed the nation’s largest deep energy retrofit at Castle Square Apartments in Boston, resulting in a 72 percent reduction in energy usage. The Open Market ESCO program will create new opportunities for Winn to complete energy efficiency work on nonWinn owned or managed properties.
WinnCompanies is a national leader in its commitment to community and sustainability. Oliver Lofts and Castle Square Apartments in Boston, Mass. were recently awarded LEED for Homes Multifamily Platinum Certification. Oliver Lofts also recently won a Multifamily Executive Award in the Mixed Income Project of the Year category; an Achievement in Sustainability award as part of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) 2012 J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation; and the Rental Housing Association (RHA) award for “Best Green Project.” Last May, Boston Mayor Menino presented Castle Square with the “Green Residential Award” and named the property a “Climate Action Leader.”