Forest Hills Under Construction

Forest Hills Care Center in Anderson Township presented one of our most challenging projects in working with PACE Financing, local and state governments to secure $4.4 Million in property tax exemptions over the next 30 years.  These challenges included working through local restrictions on HVAC equipment, energy efficient product selections, local township resistance to property tax exemption, and marrying financing with state tax exemption program.  The project stakeholders included the following: Building Owner - Premier Health Care Management (PHCM), Lender - Greenworks Lending, General Contractor - Oswald Construction, State of Ohio, and GB Solutions.

To start we'll take a look at the project basics.  This facility at 8700 Moran Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45244 added over 80,000 square feet onto their existing structure. The addition is designed as a three-story facility connected to the existing structure via hallways.  The project will provide 30-35 full time positions, as well as, increase the ability to provide rehabilitation and assisted living services.  Employing energy efficient measures was accomplished by enhancing the Building Envelope, HVAC, and Lighting.  The design took into account several factors that influenced the selection of enhanced equipment and materials. 

The Building Envelope was a focal point for energy efficiency and patient safety.  In particular insulation choices impacted the all the structural aspects of the building. The resulting design resulted in a more efficient facility with lower operating cost and safety concerns for residents.  Batt insulation was chosen over spray foam mainly due to the amount of smoke and fumes put off during a fire.  Utilizing Batt Insulation required additional framing (2x6's) to exceed building code minimums for R-Value.  Other measures for the building envelope enhancement include windows, blown-in attic insulation, and exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS).  These items all contribute to an exterior that reduces the exterior temperature influence on the HVAC systems. 

The local zoning issues required HVAC design to utilize the most efficient design within specific class of HVAC equipment types.  The zoning authority didn't want visible units around the building, such as, VRF systems require.  The VRF system would have been the preferred system and would have provided significant energy efficiency over the chosen RTU, split system and PTAC systems. Given this constraint the project has selected high efficiency equipment in these categories to achieve energy efficiency goals.

The lighting system presented the least redesign to meet an ideal standard.  PHCM initial design focused on using LED lighting throughout the facility in the early design phase.  This focus was carried forward to the final design and energy efficiency incentive package. 

Each of these systems has been optimized with Energy Savings and Return on Investment (ROI) in mind.  A 24% energy utilization improvement over building code is achieved implementing these items.  The following table shows the pollution reduction that results from the energy savings.

 

Sulfur Dioxide

Nitrogen Oxides

Carbon Dioxide

Building Code

40 lbs

10 lbs.

2,626,993 lbs.

Proposed Design

29.5 lbs.

7.38 lbs.

1,931,113 lbs.

Total Reduction

11.5 lbs.

2.62 lbs.

695,880 lbs.

Following the design analysis and enhancement of systems we entered into the approval phase of the project.  In this phase GB Solutions (GBS) focuses on applications and negotiations with local governments to move the project forward.  Before the project started full construction of the structure GBS secured State of Ohio inducement approval for the designed systems.  During the construction phase monitoring of installation of designed systems was documented via Oswald Construction's project portal and on-site verifications.  As construction neared an end we applied to finalize the application to the State of Ohio's tax exemption program for energy efficient projects.  This final approval opened the door to move into working with the local government (Anderson Township) and the PACE financing team (Greenworks Lending). 

Coordination of the State's program, PACE financing, and Anderson Townships final approval proved to be the biggest challenge of this project.  Anderson Township had reservations about the tax exemptions that would be included with this project.  GB Solutions worked with the PHCM team to provide an economic picture and deal framework for their approval.  The framework that was finally worked out protected property tax revenue for non-energy efficiency improvements to the property.  This protection of tax revenue provided Anderson Township with the capability to move forward with the entire project including the tax exemptions for the energy efficiency components.  As Anderson Township approved the deal the PACE Financing closed days later as a result.

The final piece of this project included Hamilton County Auditor's office.  For this item GBS worked with the County Auditor's office to identify the tax exemption eligible building components, the State's documentation authorizing the tax exemption, and implementation of tax exemption.  This part of the process did take some time, however the County's representatives were thorough in understanding the deal set-up with Anderson Township and the impact of the State's tax exemption.  At the conclusion of this process Hamilton County Auditor's office agreed that the tax exemption would provide $147,000.00 per year in tax exemption for the next 30 years due to the energy efficient measures installed at this facility.