Using QECBs for Public Building Upgrades: Reducing Energy Bills in the City of Philadelphia

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Policy Brief

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Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) are federally-subsidized bonds that enable state, tribal, and local government issuers to borrow money to fund a range of energy conservation projects, including public building upgrades that reduce energy use by at least 20 percent, at very attractive borrowing rates and long terms. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the City of Philadelphia received a $15 million QECB award from the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury). The city leveraged $6.25 million of its QECB allocation to finance half of a $12.6 million initiative to upgrade the energy efficiency of City buildings. The upgrades to four city facilities are expected to deliver over $10 million of net savings, and are a major step towards achieving the city’s goal of reducing government energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015.

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