Nearly 100 people attended dedication of the first Michigan building retrofitted for energy savings under the new PACE law and delivered by Lean & Green’s CEO, Andy Levin. Government officials, other building owners, 1-800-LAW-OFFICE staff, sustainable contractors, utility representatives, banking officials, green energy proponents and others were on hand to share in the celebration along with various media sources that covered the event.
A brief program highlighted the event. Participants first heard from Andy Levin, who has been working tirelessly to enact a uniform PACE program statewide and implement it with progressive building owners, corporations and real estate developers for substantial savings and a cleaner, more energy efficient environment. Mr. Levin lauded Ari Kresch, 1-800-LAW-FIRM building owner for his vision in using PACE financing to retrofit the 1970’s era building for a deep energy retrofit, including both rooftop and covered parking solar panel arrays along with multiple rooftop wind turbines.
Mr. Kresch spoke briefly about the reasons for “taking the leap” as the first building owner to embrace an energy retrofit of his building under the new PACE program. He commented that instead of considering multiple small step retrofits, the opportunity presented itself to combine several projects at once to take advantage of several energy incentive programs and finance all of the work under a PACE financing program. 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s building owner also commented that while he is very interested in being a good steward of the environment, the project just made financial sense. As a matter of fact, that is the only method under which a PACE project in Michigan can move forward. It has to save the building owner more on an annual basis than the annual costs of those retrofits. So what exactly is PACE ?
PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is Michigan Public Act 270 passed back in 2010, which allows cities and counties to establish a PACE District so building owners can use a property tax assessment system along with private capital in order to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects for commercial real estate. Some of the key advantages of PACE include: the loan can extend up to the useful life of the improvements installed, allowing more projects to be cash flow positive upon completion; the PACE special assessment is self-imposed, voluntary and similar to property taxes (ie. not a loan); and it “runs with the land”, meaning the sale of that property after a PACE project is completed will have no effect on the property and the new owner will simply “step into the shoes” of the prior owner on this special assessment and will continue on with the program.
At last count, PACE has been passed by 31 states and Mr. Levin has been successful in having the following Michigan counties and cities enact PACE Districts for their communities: Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Huron, Ingham, Macomb, Saginaw, Washtenaw and Wayne counties; Cities of: Rochester Hillls, Royal Oak and Southfield. More Michigan jurisdictions are realizing PACE is a benefit to their communities building stock, in that the more owners who upgrade and update their buildings, the better it is for the environment, that jurisdictions’ community value and building owners’ ownership of a cleaner, greener, more efficient and more valuable building. When a PACE project is built, the intent is for all participants to WIN.
Following comments from other dignitaries and distinguished guests, the ribbon cutting took place and attendees were provided drinks, food and building retrofit tours to better understand the value of a PACE project. It is hoped 1-800-LAW-FIRM will be the first of hundreds of building retrofits throughout Michigan taking advantage of all a PACE project has to offer.
All photos courtesy Doug Elbinger
ROBERT E. MATTLER, Associate Broker, Attorney and LEED AP BD+C, is Director of Green Brokerage at Armada Real Estate Services in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He speaks and writes about emerging green real estate issues in Michigan and elsewhere. Bob is also senior correspondent for www.greeningdetroit.com . For more information, contact Bob at Armada Real Estate (248) 855-1221; or by e-mail: email@example.com
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