COSE seized the opportunity to get into the energy market to help our small businesses both save money and become more responsible energy consumers. For nearly 19 years, COSE has been a provider of electricity and natural gas savings options to small and mid-sized businesses.
However, the original energy portfolio has continued to expand to building energy audits and rebate administration to promote energy efficient business decisions. In 2009, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) named COSE the “Energy Efficiency Administrator for Small Business” in the FirstEnergy territories. COSE Energy has saved members and their employees more than $1.2 million in utility savings each year since in 2012. In addition, the energy programs have helped small business owners and their employees throughout Ohio save on energy costs, achieve budget certainty, reduce energy demand, and become more sustainable.
Being an early player in this space, COSE was quickly positioned as an expert helping not only our businesses develop their own strategies but also working closely with other chambers and associations across the country to help them develop their own program portfolio. In 2010, we launched our first online Energy Efficiency Resource Guide to begin sharing the knowledge our team had generated through building this new program.
Our recognition in the space continued for years to come. COSE and Greater Cleveland Partnership gained Green Plus™ status and COSE was awarded $100,000 in federal and state grants to support sustainability education for small businesses. We were also named “Chamber of the Year” at the Green Plus North America Sustainability Awards in 2010.
We also received grants and additional funding to continue to carry out our work for small companies. COSE Energy received state and federal grants to promote energy efficiency among small businesses in 2011. And the following year, COSE received a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development and another $1.5 million over three years from Dominion East Ohio to provide energy efficiency assistance to small businesses.
COSE has been committed to retaining, advancing the growth of, and creating new opportunities for local businesses to increase the economic wealth and vitality in the FirstEnergy service territory. As such, COSE orchestrated an exclusive energy audit program offering for small and middle market business owners. COSE replicated the turnkey model that was designed for the Dominion Nonresidential Energy Assessment Program for the FirstEnergy energy audits to be conducted starting in 2016 through 2024.
In 2017, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a three-year $1.8 million prestigious grant to COSE and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) to nationally scale up replicable, energy-efficient solutions for small and medium-sized commercial businesses. The initiative sought to engage 400+ small business landlords and tenants using a Chamber-led, business-to-business model and provide support for energy assessments, implementation of energy conservation measures, related financing, and green leasing.
COSE’s primary goal has always been to be a catalyst for the small business energy efficiency space and to enable small to mid-size businesses to obtain capital for energy efficiency projects when traditional financing opportunities are unavailable. As such, COSE launched an interest rate buy down in 2018 and Commercial Property Clean Energy Financing (CPACE) in 2018.
Over the last year, the team has conducted more than 100 energy audits encompassing more than 6 million square feet. For the businesses that completed efficiency projects, the Energy Team helped secure more than $1.2 million in cash rebates to help offset project costs. The Team also became the rebate administrator for the Ohio Schools Council.
GCP members taking advantage of COSE’s Electric Choice program saw savings of approximately $1.6 million.
Lastly, MAN Holdings’ Shaker West Professional Building represented the first private CPACE financing project the Energy Team participated in, the first of its kind involving a small structure and the first for Energy Team partner Greenworks Lending. CPACE is a financing arrangement that allows investors to consider older buildings that might not otherwise be feasible investments. The Energy Team helped secure almost $10,000 in rebates for the project.
The team is on track to complete nearly 125 energy audits in 2019, and assisting hundreds of businesses capture more than a million dollars in energy incentives again.