Cornerstone Center for the Performing Arts

Built in 1925 by the Masons, this 120,000 SF historic building in Muncie (IN), has been a pillar of the Muncie community providing local residents the opportunity for creative expression, educational programs and events such as banquets, weddings and other social events. As originally designed, the building was state-of-the-art with air conditioning provided by dumping dry ice in a “fresh air make up tunnel” to temper outside air, modern time HVAC needs overwhelmed the capability to heat and cool the building adequately.

The Challenge

As a non-profit entity, Cornerstone had struggled with the cost of managing building temperature controls and did not have the capital funds to fix the heating/cooling problems, resulting in not being able to utilize much of the space for rentals in the heat of summer and dead of winter. Funds were spent on “band-aids” to the larger problem, but in the end, problems were never properly fixed.

Cornerstone went through years and years of lost revenue and increased utility costs.




The Solution

National Energy Control partnered with strategic partner OJS Building Services to provide a uniquely structured PV Solar project which included comprehensive Energy Conservation Measures. As a result of a ASHRAE Audit performed by NEC and OJS, the following ECMs were identified:

  1. Facility-wide LED Lighting upgrade
  2. HVAC upgrades including a Building Management System
  3. PV Solar roof-mounted solar array

The entire Solution was funded by a private investor secured by National Energy. The investor offset over 60% of the investment with tax incentives from solar and the remaining balance through a 10-year Energy Services Agreement (“ESA”) between the newly created Special Purpose Entity and Cornerstone. The unique structure of the ESA allowed Cornerstone to have the HVAC issues resolved as well as reduced operating costs resulting from the LED lighting and PV solar power generated which offset utility usage.

Building energy upgrades & PV Solar

Facility-Wide LED Upgrade

75% reduction in electrical consumption

  • Over $26,000 in annual savings from LED Lighting upgrade
  • Over $11,000 in annual energy offset from utility resulting from PV Solar power

Sustainable Energy Solutions

30-year stream of sustainable energy from solar, as a hedge against raising energy rates

Thumbs Up for Supporting Renewables

Significant marketing impact for Public Relations in community for supporting renewable energy

Extensive Demographic Studies

Temperature controlled building for optimal comfort

There is a story behind the installation of the new Solar/HVAC system financed by private investors. The heating and cooling of this historic building has been a continued challenge. Our third floor in particular had minimal heating/ cooling capacity thus limiting utilization of the third floor for rentals and events. One morning last January, Rob Jordan, Director of the Building, asked me to meet with two gentlemen regarding our HVAC system. Rob explained that they have a plan that would require no upfront funding and would save on energy cost. This is the day that Matt Rabourn of OJS and Joe Stevens of National Energy Control entered our lives. Matt was familiar with our building as an employee of his family owned heating and cooling business, Choice Mechanics. Both gentlemen presented to the Board the following month. They explained that with the benefit of solar energy tax credits, CCA could package together an updated HVAC System, new lighting, and solar energy funded by private investors. The full package cost would be over $700,000. The Board understood the inadequacies of our current system and they also understood that financing any improvements was probably not within any future budget.

The Board recognized this opportunity to improve our HVAC performance and reduce energy expense. Joe Stevens of National Energy Control then went to work and found private investors of Orthodynamics who not only liked the benefits of tax credits, but also liked the project of assisting CCA. The work has begun on lighting and the HVAC system and the solar panels will be installed beginning Dec. 15. CCA is responsible for lease payments for our HVAC equipment and for purchase of generated solar energy. The projected 10- year cost should be covered by energy savings and a special ‘pass thru donor fund’ at the Community Foundation of Muncie Delaware County. CCA has raised $150,000 in pledges toward the $300,000 goal to pay for this system for the next 10 years. This Board has been proactive in meeting this great need of this Historic building. You can help by donating to the ‘pass thru fund’ at the Community Foundation. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Customer Comment

Cornerstone Center for the Performing Arts

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The Results

The ESA structure provided all measures to be installed for Cornerstone while not investing any upfront or Capital funds. The resulting operational cost savings from HVAC/Building Controls, LED Lighting and Solar production covered the cost of the ESA payment to the Investor.

Payments over the 10-year ESA Term were less than the operational cost savings, at the end of the term, Cornerstone will own the PV system outright, allowing them to reap 100% of the benefits for the next 20 years.


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National Energy Control
8361 Broadwell Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45244