(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of RealEstateFlorida.)

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BOCA RATON, FL-American Water & Energy Savers, a companybased here that has specialized in water conservation for over 20years, has partnered with Power Buyer Green, operated by GEMSA LoanServices, LP, and Grant Capital Management to offer conservationsolutions for retrofitting existing multifamily buildings of 100units or more. The changes implemented by the program are to reducethe consumption of water between 35% and 45%. The program willoffer "off the balance sheet financing," which would allow propertyowners to implement conservation methods and pay AWES back withwater and sewer savings generated by the completed projects.

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"With water and sewer costs escalating at unprecedented rates,owners of multifamily properties need to find ways to manage theirutility costs more effectively," says Michael Sloup, president andCEO of AWES. "Today, the majority of toilet rebate programsavailable are geared towards single-family housing, making itdifficult for property owners without cash resources. Funds beingmade available by our program provide a solution for these ownersto retrofit their properties."

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The program is aimed at owners of buildings in existence before1992, the year that the federal Energy Act mandated toilets to useonly 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Sloup explains to GlobeSt.comthat many properties were in existence before the act was passed,with toilet tanks using as much as five gallons per flush.

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Besides replacing toilets with newer, smaller tanks, theretrofit program also aims to replace other high-flow fixtures suchas faucets and shower heads. The company says savings can be seenin excess of 20 million gallons per year, a significantconservation expectation given current drought conditions all overthe Southeast. As with many sustainable practices being adopted allover the globe, these retrofits are also expected to add value toexisting properties.

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AWES has been retrofitting buildings for water conservation forclose to 15 years, says Sloup, and also works to implementsub-metering water conservation programs in retail centers. Thecompany has worked with Power Buyer Green, which providescommercial real estate energy assessments and solutions, as a watermanagement group for over 12 years. This is the company's firstventure with Grant Capital Management, which will help to structurethe most efficient financing for the program.

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"In a world that is driven by energy, we hope to encourage moreand more property owners to move toward more environmentallysustainable practices," says Bob Hayes, Power Buyer Green managingdirector.

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