Eco-districts: Who will pay?

The benefits for business and the environment are evident, but funding is an issue.

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The question of who will pay for Portland eco-districts is a frequent concern when plans are proposed.

The impetus for eco-districts is already at work here in Portland, according to Rob Bennett, executive director of the Portland + Oregon Sustainability Institute, which is leading research to develop five pilot eco-districts in Portland. District energy system projects planned in the Sunnyside neighborhood and the North Pearl district would use a centralized heating-and-cooling system located on one site to serve multiple buildings in a neighborhood, much like eco-districts would utilize a shared energy system and other systems.

“Strategies like what is going on with Sunnyside and the North Pearl energy district are what we hope to support and proliferate around the city,” Bennett said. “The biggest nut to crack is creating a financial tool that allows property owners to look at shared investment streams. Coming up with novel and binding financial strategies is going to be a challenge.”

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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