While federal policy to curb carbon emissions remained in limbo, several state and local governments are experimenting with new ways to build a low-carbon future. Delaware rolled out a “sustainable energy utility,” or SEU, a nonprofit organization envisioned to be a “one-stop shop” for anyone looking to save energy and utilize renewable energy onsite. Funded by the proceeds of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (a cap-and-trade program formed by states from Maine to Maryland), it pays for energy audit of school district buildings, and other public facilities, identifying efficiency upgrades and renewable energy options that are cost-effective. Then the SEU would hire engineering companies to complete the work.
According to the SEU contract, companies retrofit buildings with energy-saving features, like better windows, heating systems and insulation, and then guarantee a certain amount of utility savings over time. The guaranteed savings cover the cost of the investment and when it is paid off, the equipment becomes the property of the school or other agency, allowing them to benefit from continued savings.
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