Zimmer co-authors major National Institutes of Building Sciences study

M.C. Tilton
February 1, 2016


 A report co-authored by Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Executive-in-Residence Michael Zimmer on accessing capital for energy-efficient building was released at Building Innovation 2016: The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Annual Conference and Expo, held in Washington, D.C.  The NIBS Council on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (CFIRE) report, Financing Energy-Efficiency and Renewable-Energy Projects, highlights the importance of expanding access to capital that builds environmental resilience and sustainability.

“Financing improvements and modernization in buildings is very challenging in today’s economic environment,” Zimmer said. “Including elements of sustainability creates permanence and longer-term strategies that can be taken to enhance the underlying value of buildings in a very economically positive way.”

The report recommends expanding access to capital through public policy goals, risk management, and equity investment structures that focus on energy-efficient building development investments. It also discusses three key tools – Real Estate Investment Trusts, Master Limited Partnerships, and Yieldcos – to accessing public capital markets. As government spending tightens, the private sector is providing most capital needed to invest in renewable building techniques, and the report essentially asks public officials to improve access to public capital markets to enable more widespread green building.

The report makes seven specific recommendations, including expansion of federal programs, encouragement of development, testing of retrofit programs at the city, county or utility levels, and the use of public versus private approaches. It is meant to expand green building awareness and increase the marketplace toolkit for energy efficiency strategies.

 “These types of studies and the recommendations that are advanced are very important guideposts to the investment community and public policymakers at the federal and state level, and that’s why we do this,” Zimmer said. “We take special efforts to provide technical assistance to these decision makers, and it’s a privilege and an honor to be part of this advisory entity.”

Zimmer’s part in authoring the study was especially valuable, combining his environment and public policy perspective as a Voinovich School executive with his background as a Russ College of Engineering executive. He was recently named the 2016 Financial Insurance and Real Estate Committee Secretary to the NIBS Board of Directors. Zimmer is currently working with Ohio University on food, energy and water development issues; energy efficiency, technology and finance; and public-private partnership development issues in the Appalachian region, and is an expert on energy policy, corporate sustainability and clean tech transactions.

Read the full report here.