> PROFILE O’BRYANT ELECTRIC
The resulting project, far beyond the Hilton Los Angeles/
Universal City’s original vision, was a win for all parties.
ReNewAll accomplished its public policy goal to reduce carbon emissions.
“We develop projects in line that create good jobs, that are
sustainable, that decrease carbon emissions because of energy
efficiency, and create and store green energy,” said Joe Ber-
ney, ReNewAll co-founder and managing partner. “ReNewAll
offered several financing models to the hotel so that the cost of
financing is always less than the money the property is saving
as a result of the decreased energy use. As a result, it costs the
building owner nothing to do an energy-efficiency upgrade. We
typically identify for building owners how much money they
will lose by not doing the work.”
Hilton representatives chose PACE as its financial program
from among the programs ReNewAll offers.
“The PACE financial program allows a company, in this case
the Hilton, to undergo retrofit work on a building, and instead of
having it affect their capital budget, they can take those monies
and pay them on the property tax bill spread out over a sub-
scribed amount of time, 20 years in this case,” said Mike Bahr,
co-founder and managing partner, ReNewAll. “Instead of having
to write a check for $8 million when the project is complete,
they are able to spread that out over time. The money is not
on their balance sheets but is paid in small increments on their
The energy-efficiency project was beneficial to the hotel in
“It was great that the Hilton reached out because they were
evaluating third-party certifications to validate and guide their
sustainability actions,” said Marc Costa, program manager of
The Energy Coalition and former USGBC-LA board member.
“Since the USGBC-LA developed the LEED rating system, it
made sense to reach out to the local Los Angeles chapter to see
what resources were available.
“As an additional byproduct, the hotel pursued LEED certification, as well as took advantage of utility rebates, as well as the Los
Angeles County PACE program that was created during ARRA
[American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funding. ReNewAll
was able to secure approximately $1 million in utility and federal
rebates and tax incentives for Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City.”
The financing suited the hotel’s requirements.
“PACE is the only funding mechanism that is credible in
providing verifiable information to our investors and, therefore,
is the ideal tool for us to move forward in becoming the gold
standard in sustainable hotels,” said Mark Davis, Hilton Los
Angeles/Universal City general manager.
The project was a win for O’Bryant Electric as well.
“There’s lots of talk by people who say they will get involved
in these sorts of efficiency projects, but it’s usually done piece-
meal instead of as an orchestrated effort as we did,” Zickovich
said. “This was the first project organized in this way. Rather
than looking at one measure, they looked at multiple ones, inte-
grating measures beyond electrical ones such as window film
and a chiller upgrade. We were proud to be part of it.”
“The program is free to participating building owners and
mirrors the Hilton project,” said Dominique Smith, executive
director, USGBC-LA. “After an energy audit of the property, the
USGBC-LA provides an analysis of what could be improved to
save energy and funds and then offers a financial model, one
similar to but not limited to the PACE program.”
While the cost of the Hilton project was $7 million (includ-
ing PACE program and financing costs), the return on the
hotel’s investment was 78 percent with a total property value
increase of $30 million (per current appraisal).
“There has been a significant impact since we installed
high-efficiency fan motors in all the guest rooms, put in a new
building automation system, a new temperature-control system
and high-performance window film,” the Hilton’s Thompson said. “Our complaints of rooms being too hot went down
dramatically. We’ve raised our Energy Star rating to be more
current with today’s standards and, since the upgrade, we’ve
managed to reduce our electrical consumption about 27 percent
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in each suite.
Fan-motor retrofits and high-performance window film
led to dramatically reduced number of complaints about