Chicago created the Chicago Infrastructure Trust in 2012 as a way for the city to use private investment to pay for projects it otherwise could not afford. The Trust is currently paying for $13 million of energy efficiency improvements to 62 city buildings. Private investors earn a return on their investment.
Now, the Trust is debating which projects to work on next. The Trust has honed its options down to either energy-efficient street lights or new city vehicles powered by natural gas, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Replacing some of the city’s 340,000 old streetlights with more energy efficient lights could lower the city’s electricity bills by 50-80 percent, and investors could be paid back through the savings, reports the Tribune.