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. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]