Could Energy Retrofits be the Best Performing Investment?
Okay, we all know the usual places to put money are performing pretty badly right now. But get this: the Empire State Building is embarking on a massive energy retrofit that will return nearly 28 percent a year! The project will cost $13.2 million, not exactly chump change–but will slash energy consumption by 35 to 40 percent, and save $3.8 million a year (considerably more, if energy costs spike back up again). After the third year, that’s nearly $4 million going directly to the bottom line. If the improvements have even a 20-year lifespan, that $13.2 million investment would return $176 million, and that’s with stable energy prices. The number is much, much higher if you factor in average energy cost increases of 5 percent a year. (I’m not going to do the math here, because I don’t know all the factors we’d need to compute–but it’s sure to be at least $200 million, maybe much more).
Too bad we can’t put our Roth IRAs into renewable-energy retrofits
Meanwhile, we can all learn from the creative thinking at Rocky Mountain Institute, which is doing the heavy lifting on this project–for example, remanufacturing the windows on-site to reduce trucking costs in fuel and money. For years, RMI has been generating this kind of holistic, big-picture energy planning that saves many times the cost, and quickly. I profile RMI founder Amory Lovins in my award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First.