Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=229929
Story Retrieval Date: 3/1/2015 5:28:09 PM CST
The Infrastructure Trust, launched nearly two years ago, has broken ground on its first municipal building energy retrofit, and has opened bidding for investor and contractor proposals for a public pool project. Private investors are offered a share of the city's savings from the project they fund.
The development of the first project, known as Retrofit 1.0, started in January 2013 with an energy audit of more than 100 city-owned buildings, according to documents provided by the trust. The $13 million project will result in an 18 percent reduction in energy used in 60 municipal buildings spread throughout Chicago, according to the trust.
The second project will provide energy efficiency upgrades for up to 141 pools managed by Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District. At a public board meeting Thursday, trust advisory members Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th Ward) and Stephanie Neely, city of Chicago treasurer, raised concerns about the distribution of resources for the pool efficiency retrofit and future projects throughout the city. Chairman James Bell responded, “We can’t have all of the pools on the North Side."
Claire Tramm, energy program director at the trust, said the quantity and location of the pools serviced would ultimately be decided by the resources of the investors and engineers.
Before opening a project to public bidding, the trust welcomes unsolicited proposals, but not all business owners are supportive of this process. During public questioning at Thursday’s meeting, Mike Archey of GTM Strategies said the trust should consult more closely and exchange ideas with business, likening the trust to a shovel needing business's treasure map.
Board members responded that the trust is still in its infancy.
“We’re still building the shovel,” Chairman Bell said.