Here's how it works
We start by meeting with you to discuss the challenges of your buildings and your goals for energy savings
Your buildings are assessed for energy and water savings potential, and then we manage the contractor selection and installation for you.
We provide access to project financing so that both investors and building owners will get financial returns right away.
The work is completed, with oversight from Commons Energy. Those who live, work, or visit the building experience improved comfort and safety. Building owners and managers obtain immediate energy savings.
We are ready to take your project from start to finish. Connect
A model that benefits all
Commons Energy, a public-purpose energy services company (or PPESCO), is an innovative take on a tested model, using financing from mission-aligned sources to finance the project. The client repays investors from resulting energy savings.
Your energy reduction is guaranteed.
Frequently asked questions
- What makes a project a good fit with Commons Energy? Are there limitations, (such as types of building, size of project, and/or geography)?
- If I have already had an energy audit done, will I need another one? If I do, who pays for it?
- If I already have electrical and HVAC contractors or in-house staff who know my building, can I use them?
- What exactly is an Energy Performance Contract?
- What is guaranteed in the Energy Performance Contract? What is not?
- If Commons Energy is going to provide the financing for my project, what are the terms and conditions?
- What if I can bring my own lower-cost or longer-term financing to the table?
Commons Energy wants you to have the best financing possible. If you have access to financing that meets your needs better than our financing can, we encourage you to utilize that.
Commons Energy provides technical assistance, installation, and energy performance contracting in coordination with a client’s preferred financing source. In some cases, capital that Commons Energy makes available is co-joined with existing capital, in some cases it stands alone as the exclusive source, and in others it will not be needed. Financing will generally take the form of a direct loan or lease between lender and borrower (client) or, for entities that have access to bond financing, proceeds could be used from a bond issuance. The financing source will underwrite the borrower directly, working with Commons Energy.
- How quickly can we get started?
- We’re ready when you are. And the best time for us to get involved is right at the beginning, as part of the design team! The ideal project is one in which Commons Energy is included at the outset of a project as part of the design team. However, for projects that are already in the development cycle and/or existing projects, we are able to integrate into the timeline by working with the existing team to assemble supplemental resource and review facility and tenant utility bills. We will then perform an energy audit and energy model, provide calculated savings of the facility and determine the cost, effectiveness and therefore suitability of energy improvement measures (including both energy efficiency and on site renewable generation) for the facility.
- Is Commons Energy a for-profit or non-profit organization?
- Commons Energy is an L3C (low-profit limited liability company) which is a form of the broader category of LLCs (limited liability corporations). An L3C is a for-profit organizational structure that balances social and financial returns, whereas a traditional LLC, S-corp or C-corp all favor financial returns as the primary objective. We created Commons Energy as an L3C to provide benefits to the community—equally as important to providing a steady financial return to socially minded financing partners. Learn more about the L3C legal designation. To see if your state is one of the nine states or two tribal nations where it is legally possible to organize as an L3C, see our map.
- What is the relationship between a Public Purpose Energy Services Company (PPESCO), Commons Energy and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)?
- A PPESCO is a type of energy-services company that provides whole-building energy improvements to buildings that lack access to such services, and that exist to serve a public purpose. Based on this, the four market sectors that Commons Energy serves are: Multifamily affordable housing, Municipal/Community, Education and Health Care. The PPESCO model originated more than twenty years ago through various projects completed by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) and other organizations who share similar interests. VEIC recognized the need for this concept in the rural, suburban, and urban environments in which it operated: specifically that any public-purpose building is just too small to be profitable for large-scale energy services, and yet they are too large or complex for utility efficiency programs that have limited funds. Fast forward to the present day and VEIC has created a wholly owned subsidiary titled Commons Energy L3C to meet this market need and to improve the comfort, safety, and efficiency of public-purpose buildings by lowering overhead costs and creating positive cash flow.
- How will I see what the numbers are?
- Commons Energy uses an open book, fully transparent approach. Our charges are based on a cost-plus model – we apply 15% overhead calculation to all labor and costs EXCEPT equipment, materials, and capital. Our goal is to use the maximum amount of financing possible to put directly into the building itself, funding as much of the direct energy improvement opportunities as possible.