The Ireland Energy Efficiency Fund (IEEF) has landed an €8.5m investment as it moves further towards being fully invested by the end of 2016.

The Representative Church Body (RCB), the investment manager and trustee of the Church of Ireland Pension Fund, is the latest to invest in the fund designed to help companies improve energy efficiency.

RCB joins Glen Dimplex, London & Regional Properties, and the Government as investors in the €70m fund, which invests in energy efficiency projects on commercial terms, providing stable returns.

The investment is the latest show of faith in energy efficient assets from pension funds, according to David Hourihane, managing director of Sustainable Development Capital LLP, the IEEF’s investment advisor.

“This investment is welcome evidence of the increasing interest that we are generating from domestic and international pension funds in energy efficiency as a new investment asset class,” said Mr Hourihane.

“Energy efficiency investments produce stable risk-adjusted returns, while delivering value for money to the end client, along with substantial environmental returns through funding infrastructure that reduces energy consumption.”

IEEF’s model is to provide the upfront capital required for energy efficiency investment and generate a return through sharing in energy savings over the life of the project.

Host companies avoid the need to fund the upfront capital costs of the equipment upgrade, benefit from guaranteed energy savings over the project term and better environmental performance of equipment, and transfer the performance, technical and financing risk of the project to the fund.

To date, the fund has made two investments for a combined €7m. A €2m investment was made to install 5,000 low energy usage LED panels across seven Tesco sites, helping to deliver a 60% reduction in energy usage.

A further €5m investment was made in Louth County Council to install 2,000 Climote smart heating control units in social housing units across the county in what is Europe’s largest social housing regeneration scheme.

“Part of our investment mandate is to seek out opportunities that provide risk-adjusted commercial returns for our funds under management,” said RCB head of investments Roy Asher.

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