Sustainable Energy Fund committed nearly $4 million to 2014-2015 energy projects in PA

At its recent annual public meeting in Lower Macungie Township, Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a nonprofit non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking sustainable energy options, announced it had committed nearly $4 million dollars to regional renewable and sustainable energy projects during its fiscal 2014-2015 calendar year.

Those commitments, totaling $3,952,871, represent low-cost loans to help fund a variety of energy projects across approximately 20 different organizations, including nursing homes, condominium developments, day care centers, museums, municipal governments, non-profits and various commercial enterprises.

A sampling of these projects include:

  • $1 million for Community Energy Renewables in Radnor, Pa., to allow the organization to develop future solar PV projects.
  • Nearly $45,000 for Fairmount Homes in Ephrata, Pa., for a retrofit lighting project incorporating LED lighting at the organization’s Wheat Ridge Drive location.
  • Approximately $34,000 for Youth Advocate Programs in Harrisburg to retrofit the organization’s North 3rd Street location lighting with energy-saving LED lights.

“We continue to see in both the non- and for-profit sectors a recognized need to control costs, plan for the long-term and commit to more sustainable energy alternatives,” said John Costlow, president and CEO of SEF.

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Sustainable Energy Fund issues 20 grants to Pennsylvania students

Travel grants will allow students to attend Energypath 2015 in July

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a nonprofit non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking sustainable energy options, today announces it has issued all of its 20 available travel grants to students planning to attend Energypath 2015 at the University of Scranton beginning next week. The travel grants are sponsored by West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Foundation (WPPSEF).

Recipients include:

  • Matthew T. Brockett, Edinboro University
  • Sydney M. Bynum, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Devin Clark, Robert Morris University
  • Marysol Frost, Lock Haven University
  • Kelli Gohn, Penn State University
  • Benjamin Holmes, Ambridge High School
  • Kealeb Hyde, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Kayla Griffith Kalinoski, Penn State University
  • Abigail Katsos, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Nick Kolesar, Penn State University
  • Nick Lehmann, Penn State University
  • Zachary Phillips, Shippensburg University
  • Mike Reichart, Penn State University
  • Allen Rutter, Penn State University
  • Rebecca Schmitt, Gettysburg College
  • Michael Sell, Saint Francis University
  • Corry Shaffer, Shippensburg University
  • Alaria Sun, Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School
  • Sue Tran, Washington & Jefferson College
  • David Samuel Zuckerman, Wilson College

“Working with our partner WPPSEF, these travel grants ensure tomorrow’s leaders in the sustainable energy space are able to attend the leading conference on these issues in the region” said John Costlow, president and CEO of SEF which hosts Energypath annually.

The travel grants are part of larger $10,000 grant WPPSEF made to SEF in April to fund additional programming for Energypath, as well as to provide travel funding. Students living in or attending school in the WPPSEF region are eligible for the grants. The Energypath events begin July 20 with a series of energy camps ahead of the July 23 opening of the conference.

Energypath is dedicated to increasing the knowledge and passion for sustainable energy among industry professionals, policymakers and academia. This year’s event will be held at the University of Scranton, July 23 & 24.

Sustainable Energy Fund launches 
energy savings program for nonprofits

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking a sustainable energy future, has launched its Nonprofit Energy Savings Agreement (NESA) to provide expertise and funding to nonprofits seeking to install energy efficient features into their buildings.

NESA will use utility bill savings created by the added energy efficiencies to repay SEF for its upfront investment. The utility customer, in this case a nonprofit, will retain a portion of the utility bill savings while SEF is being repaid. Once SEF is repaid, the utility customer will receive all of the utility bill savings.

Contractors working through the program will be required to provide performance guarantees, ensuring the nonprofits involved receive a minimum annual savings on their utility bills. According to SEF, if those savings arent achieved, NESA will compensate those utility customers for the difference.

This program is an invaluable resource for nonprofits that might not otherwise have the financial means to undertake a sizable, energy efficiency capital improvement project,said John Costlow, president and CEO of the SEF. The ultimate savings that can be achieved will help these nonprofits focus more resources on their mission rather than their operational costs.

According to SEF, the small commercial building market in the U.S. requires $35.64 billion in capital to appropriately conduct energy efficiency retrofits. Such retrofits would result in $138 billion in savings in the subsequent decade following construction. However, organizations are typically stymied by lack of funding, expertise and awareness. SEF will help reduce such barriers with shared industry expertise and funding.

For more information on NESA, please visit www.thesef.org or call (610) 264-4400.

Sustainable Energy Fund hires Philadelphia firm to design an energy self-sufficient building

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a nonprofit non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking sustainable energy options, today announces it has awarded a contract to Re:Vision Architecture of Philadelphia to create a conceptual design for a commercially viable net zero commercial building.

As a net-zero project, the building will be extremely energy efficiency and create at least as much energy as it uses over a year from renewable energy. It will effectively minimize utility bills to a minimum monthly fee.

“SEF intends to show how a net-zero commercial office space can be commercially viable in the small office environment,” says John Costlow, president of SEF. “Net zero technology has been viable for some time but the challenge is to accomplish it at or near market rates while also significantly lowering traditional operating costs.”

Re:Vision Co-Founder and Principal Scott Kelly applauded SEF for inviting the architecture firm in early during the project’s concept stage.

“We’re thrilled to have found in SEF a partner focused on the end-goal of a net-zero building that is willing to bring in an architectural design partner so early in the development stages because early big moves have significant design and cost implications,” says Kelly. “There are multiple ways to get to net-zero in design and construction. Together, our shared goal is to create a compelling and efficient model that exemplifies SEF’s core mission and principles.”

Re:Vision was founded in 2002 as a green architecture firm dedicated to sustainability and transparent social and environmental performance standards.

Conceptual designs of the SEF project will be unveiled at EnergyPath 2015, held at the University of Scranton in July.