“Building the future” is mostly a metaphor. But with DLZ, it isn’t just aspirational. It’s part of their corporate culture. With more than a century of experience, the architecture, engineering, surveying, and construction services firm has led global projects from its Midwest offices. Nearly 80 percent of their clients are local, state, and federal entities investing in projects that improve lives. DLZ is building the future but is also building community.
Their commitment does not end with serving client initiatives. DLZ has formalized their commitment to sustainability with a Social Responsibility Policy that states, “DLZ believes that innovative, responsible, and sustainable business is important in building a healthy, thriving society. We recognize that our social, economic, and environmental responsibilities to our clients are essential for commercial success.”
The three-page policy goes on to identify actions the company will pursue to increase their sustainability, including the installation of on-site solar, building improvements and converting their own vehicle fleet to clean, renewable fuel.
From DLZ’s perspective, renewable energy isn’t all the same, nor is the environmental impact. Electric vehicles recharged with power from coal and natural gas burning plants simply shift carbon emissions from one source to another. DLZ decided the ideal solution was hydrogen, generated on-site, powered by solar — investments made possible through CFFA’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing. It is one of several sustainability upgrades the PACE financing covered.
“Hydrogen is the energy of the future. We wanted to show the community that it can be done. Renewable energy is good for the environment, our country, and our world,” explains Bruce Bauchmire, Director of Renewable Energy Services at DLZ. “PACE financing allowed us to borrow at a lower rate and repay the loan over a longer timeframe. It was a much more attractive financing option, one that makes projects like this more feasible.”
PACE financing offers an alternative to traditional loans for investments and improvements that increase energy efficiency. Such projects aren’t just good for the environment, they often lower operating costs immediately. The Finance Authority’s PACE program empowers borrowers with loans ranging from $200,000 to $8 million financing up to 100% of eligible expenses. And because the loan is repaid through a property assessment, if the building is sold before the loan is repaid, the special assessments (loan repayments) transfer to subsequent owners. The program encourages property owners to undertake updates that may not occur otherwise.
Commitment to Sustainability
Conversion to hydrogen vehicles was one of several opportunities identified by DLZ in a comprehensive energy audit, a requirement for PACE financing. Other improvements include HVAC upgrades, smart thermostats, and longer-lasting LED lighting that consumes far less energy. The solar array built to generate hydrogen is capable of supplying enough fuel for a fleet four times the current size.
DLZ’s passion for sustainability and community starts at the top with founder, chairman, and CEO Vikram “Raj” Rajadhyaksha. In addition to high-profile projects, DLZ’s expertise in irrigation systems, flood control, and ADA evaluations and compliance demonstrate a convergence of purpose and service.
Though the name may not be familiar to many outside their industry, DLZ’s work surely is. From public parks and sports complexes to airports and fire stations, the everyday connection to communities their facilities serve is evident. But there are also massive infrastructure projects dating back decades: solar, wind, and hydroelectric. DLZ is developing a “hydrokinetic turbine” intended to provide power to remote areas by capturing the energy of nearby rivers. Investing in the future is part of their history, and making clean energy possible in countries across the globe is a company priority.
The Road Ahead
DLZ’s overall investment is projected to reduce total energy use by more than 10 percent, and reduce energy costs by more than 30 percent, totaling nearly $100k in annual savings that will increase over time. The combination of hydrogen and solar power is the equivalent of removing more than 80 vehicles from the road each year, an environmental impact that grows as more vehicles are replaced.
“Ford announced that they’re going to produce hydrogen pickup trucks. Once that happens, we plan to switch out our current fleet of trucks for hydrogen-powered pickups,” says Bauchmire. “DLZ is planning a billion-dollar hydrogen plant in Latin America with the capacity to deliver fuel to Central America, Europe, and the U.S.”
“DLZ is a valued corporate partner because they share many of the same values as the community,” said David McCorkle, Assistant City Manager & Economic Development Director with the City of Worthington. “Worthington has a vision to be a leader for environmental stewardship and DLZ’s project embraces this vision.” Environmental stewardship, he says, has no greater impact than at the local level. “Competitive rates and extended payback periods make PACE financing a unique tool for property owners and businesses to get projects like this done.”
DLZ Corporation, 6121 Huntley Road
Property: Existing two-story office building, approximately 80k SF, built in 1967
Energy Improvements: Installation of new HVAC with a building automation system, upgrade light system to LED technology, addition of a solar PV array, and installation of a hydrogen generation/pumping station to service a fleet of hydrogen powered vehicles.
Interest Rate: 5%, fixed
Term: 20.67 years
Loan amount: $1,602,388.43
Transaction costs: $27,437.43
Annual Loan payment: $144,178 (special assessment collected with real property taxes)
Projected Savings and Benefits: 11% reduction in energy use, 46% of energy generated from on-site renewable energy source, total energy cost reduction of 31% or $40,643 per year, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of 381 metric tons per year (a social value of $19,444), annual energy and maintenance savings of $58,320
To learn more about PACE financing and if it’s a good fit for your building’s energy upgrades, please contact Patty Huddle at 614-427-0394 or [email protected].