Economic Development Research Group was commissioned by Siemens to help them better understand and highlight the role infrastructure plays in economic growth. EDR Group analyzed the impacts of investing in public transportation in Salt Lake City, Utah, and energy efficient buildings in Louisville, Kentucky.
The firm worked closely with stakeholders in the Salt Lake City region and at the University of Louisville, respectively, to collect necessary metrics including the types, timing, and magnitude of purchases made to expand or build new systems; the location of suppliers and contractors; and the extent of institutional cost savings, redirected spending, and contingent (i.e., indirect but attributable) development.
Using this information in combination with IMPLAN economic data, EDR Group estimated that upgrading and expanding public transportation in Salt Lake City resulted in a total annual economic impact of 2,800 jobs and over $410 million in business sales. In Louisville, EDR Group estimated that investments in smarter building technologies and energy efficiency upgrades resulted in nearly 700 jobs and $35 million in business sales from 2009 through the end of 2013, approximately $9.3 million (and 71 jobs) of which was attributable to cost savings that were reinvested in energy projects at the university.
These findings will help Siemens, stakeholders in Salt Lake City, and the University of Louisville support the case for future investments in technologies that stimulate long-term regional economic activity through local purchases and a virtuous cycle of investment in sustainability initiatives and long-term energy conservation. One tangible indication that investments in sustainable technologies “pay off” is the University of Louisville’s February 2015 decision to commit up to $10 million more in building energy efficiency upgrades.