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. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]