What motivates building owners? (Hint: $$$)

Barriers, barriers, barriers. Yes, there are many. And yes, they’re tricky to solve.

So let’s forget about barriers for a second. And just focus on why building owners do what they do.

Fundamentally, building owners are out to make money. And I don’t mean to insult, but building owners would basically do anything (legally of course) as long as the price is right.

So if we as the EE community think building retrofits are valuable, but building owners aren’t acting on retrofits for some reason, well then let’s pay them! Pay the owner some of the long run savings up front as a payment to get into the building. Or give them a cut of the profits. The point is, do something that speaks directly to the building owner’s wallet.

The analogy for what is going on here is solar. Land owners own land in the Mojave desert that has great solar resource potential. That resource potential has real value. So developers will come along and pay the land owner for the right to develop this resource.

Now consider buildings. Building owners are sitting on a property with great energy resource potential in the form of energy savings. Why can’t developers come and pay the building owner for the right to develop this resource?

While building owners would have all sorts of different prices around where they would sell the energy efficiency resource development rights in their building, it is our belief that enough building retrofit projects will have decent economics for both the developer AND the building owner such that the market can finally start to scale.


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