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Case Studies: Commercial Energy Savings in Ohio

Ohio’s energy efficiency portfolio standard, established in 2008 under SB 221, has withstood recent attempts to weaken the consumer benefits and value of energy efficiency. In response to comments received during our meetings with Ohio legislators, MEEA developed case studies highlighting businesses in Ohio that have benefited from customer-funded energy efficiency programs. These one-page case studies (downloadable at the end of this page) demonstrate the considerable savings realized from implementing energy efficiency improvements with help from utility incentives. 

Kroger Data Center Upgrade

The Kroger Company, one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains, recently performed efficiency upgrades to their data center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Through participation in Duke Energy’s Smart $aver® incentive program, Kroger received a $130,000 rebate for replacing their Cincinnati data center’s old cooling system with a high-efficiency alternative. Since the project came online in August 2010, the cooling system upgrade has resulted in 4,779,844 kWh in energy savings and over $326,000 of total energy cost savings for the company.  Duke Energy’s rebate lowered the upfront equipment costs and gave Kroger an opportunity to make an energy efficiency improvement at a more affordable cost.

Garfield Suites HVAC Upgrades

Garfield Suites, an all-suite full-service hotel in downtown Cincinnati, replaced 342 older and inefficient packaged terminal air conditioning units with high-efficiency alternatives. Duke Energy’s Smart $aver® incentive program awarded Garfield Suites with $85,000 for installing energy efficient packaged terminal heat pumps, totaling 20% of the program cost. In addition to increased guest comfort, the upgrade resulted in the hotel saving 880,000 kilowatt-hours annually, which equates to approximately $80,000 annual savings in operating costs.

Retrofitting Ohio’s Older Buildings

Utilizing the incentives offered by First Energy, along with financing under the state’s Commercial-PACE program, businesses in Toledo and Northwest Ohio have completed upgrades to their heating, cooling, and lighting systems. The City of Toledo retrofitted firehouses, the courthouse and other municipal buildings, thanks in large part to more than $100,000 received from First Energy’s incentive program. A car dealership in Maumee received a $61,000 rebate for installing interior and exterior LEDs, saving $150,000 annually in operating costs. Working with their utility and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, many local businesses are realizing annual savings for their business, while reducing the payback period on their energy efficiency improvements.

Fifth Third Bank Efficiency Upgrades

Fifth Third Bank, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, developed an energy plan to identify areas for improved efficiency and cost savings at their sites throughout the country. Through participation in Duke Energy’s Smart $aver® incentive program, Fifth Third Bank received $275,000 in rebates for demand-side management upgrades completed throughout 90 locations in Cincinnati. By retrofitting lighting fixtures with CFLs and improved ballasts, and installing occupancy sensors and programmable thermostats throughout their buildings, Fifth Third Bank’s upgrades resulted in $7,192,940 in cumulative utility expense savings and cumulative energy reductions of 60,471,672 kWh as of July 2013. The financial incentive from Duke Energy helped to offset the initial costs of the upgrades and allowed Fifth Third Bank to make more improvements faster.

As changes to Ohio’s EEPS implementation occur, MEEA will continue to provide educational materials and work with stakeholders to ensure the value of Ohio’s energy efficiency standards remains intact.