Make us your home page
Instagram

St. Petersburg's SunTrust building going green, saving thousands

Going green is becoming increasingly important to businesses' bottom lines.

Two years ago, for instance, Scott Gramling, CEO of Wallace, Welch & Willingham, began looking for ways to cut costs at the SunTrust building in downtown St. Petersburg.

At first, Gramling considered solar carports for the top floor of the parking garage attached to the five-story, 50,000-square-foot building.

But after meeting with the head of renewable energy firm Solar Energy Management, he moved on to a more feasible and comprehensive strategy to lower the SunTrust building's utility costs.

"Our team went in there and found 40 percent energy reductions," said Scott McIntyre, president and chief executive officer of Solar Energy Management. "It's a combination of technologies."

The estimated $320,000 project provides upgrades to lighting, improvements to ventilation, use of window film and installation of a 50-kilowatt solar electric system with rooftop solar panels.

In all, the project is expected to save about $70,000 a year, with a payback in 41/2 years, McIntyre said. The solar system alone is expected to save $12,000 a year in electricity costs. The project received an $80,000 grant from Progress Energy Florida's SunSense Program and $49,500 in federal tax incentives.

Gramling's operation joins a growing number of Tampa Bay area businesses that are turning to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Landmarc Contracting of Tampa hasn't paid Tampa Electric in more than a year after turning its 2,600-square-foot office building into a net energy producer with a $60,000 solar electric system.

And a net zero energy building in downtown St. Petersburg is set to open next month with four tenants who will have no electric bills to speak of.

"Greener is better," Gramling said. "We wanted to lower our power bill. On Sundays, when hardly anyone is here, we'll actually be back-feeding to the grid."

St. Petersburg's SunTrust building going green, saving thousands 11/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 8:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa

    Business

    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

    Business

    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]