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New arena at Will Rogers takes shape


The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

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Ex Rangers manager Washington apologizes for 'breaking wife's trust'

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington says he is embarrassed for 'breaking his wife's trust.'

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Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

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Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

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Trinity Valley School leader to leave in May 2015

Gary Krahn, head of school for the past eight years at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, will leave his position in May 2015 when he and his wife Paula will move

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Clean energy legislation could help water, energy upgrades

 

A. Lee Graham
lgraham@bizpress.net

Passing it was one thing, but implementing recently approved energy upgrade legislation presents its own challenges.
Still, those backing Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) consider it a win for commercial and industrial building owners contemplating pricy energy upgrades.
“We have an entirely untapped market now,” said Charlene Heydinger, executive director of Keeping PACE in Texas. She and others helped push through the financing program signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry in June.
The initiative, brought by Senate Bill 385 and House Bill 1094, allows commercial and industrial building owners to finance water conservation and energy-efficient upgrades to existing property with long-term loans repaid through local taxing districts under voluntary property taxes.
It could help Fort Worth fund building efficiency plans.
“PACE is just a financing mechanism that can help the city pay for the improvements,” said Heydinger, referring to the Fort Worth Better Buildings Challenge, in which the city last year committed to making its buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.
“It ties in beautifully with the city’s ongoing effort,” Heydinger said.
A Houston executive has high hopes for the plan in his community.
“For our business, we will be able to recommend projects that have longer-term value to our clients purely based on the ability to secure financing,” said Dan Parsley, president and chief operating officer of EES Consulting, which recommends energy-saving strategies for AT&T Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and other clients after analyzing their workplaces.
Even before PACE gained momentum statewide, Parsley kept busy helping clients reduce utility costs. For example, Hunt and Hunt Ltd. sought EES’ analysis before installing reflective roof coatings and solar window treatments on two of the Houston metal machining company’s buildings. The upgrades are expected to save about $100,000 in annual energy costs, Parsley said.
He believes PACE will bring his business more clients that, until now, may have thought installing pricy heating and cooling systems was beyond reach.
According to a 2009 study by McKinsey & Co., a New York-based management consulting firm, the U.S. economy has a potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by about 23 percent by 2020, yielding gross energy savings exceeding more than $1.2 trillion, beyond the $520 billion needed through 2020 for initial investment in energy-efficient strategies.
“Such a program is estimated to reduce end-use energy consumption in 2020 by 9.1 quadrillion BTUs [British thermal units], roughly 23 percent of projected demand,” reads a portion of the study.
Still, implementing PACE could prove challenging for those unfamiliar with the approach. That’s why Heydinger recommends municipalities and other property-taxing entities work together in creating regional PACE programs instead of individual taxing authorities enacting their own.
“If every community does it differently, it will be slow to roll out,” said Heydinger, describing the program as complex and difficult to set up.
“The way the legislation is written, we can work in regions. We are hoping this will be easy for local governments and for businesses to use.”
Aiding that effort are “tool kits” expected to help local officials and property owners create their own PACE programs.
Though Fort Worth has not established its own PACE program – “PACE just got enacted two weeks ago, so we haven’t even started marketing this to cities yet,” Heydinger said on July 3 – Fort Worth is a longtime proponent of water conservation and energy efficiency. For example, the Water Department has helped Tarrant County College, Lockheed Martin Corp. and others minimize water usage through water audits.
“We don’t finance the improvements, though,” said Water Department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza, whose department has offered such services for three years.
Such audits pinpoint areas where potential efficiency can be improved and how much such improvements would cost.
“It’s up to the companies to decide [whether to make the improvements],” Gugliuzza said.
 

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What do you think of the new plans for a new Will Rogers arena and changes at the Convention Center?