Meet Drew, Montgomery County’s Designated PACE Lender

March 21, 2016
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Montgomery County passed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing for commercial buildings in March 2015, and we’ve enlisted Greenworks Lending to provide PACE funding for the County’s PACE program.

Meet Drew Zech, Head of Business Development with Greenworks Lending. If your business has any questions about PACE financing, Drew can walk you through the process and even set up financing for your C-PACE project. The Greenworks team has funded hundreds of C-PACE projects, and they are the County Designated Lender and the County’s first referral in our open market C-PACE program.

 

An image of the Greenworks Lending logo, with building silhouettes surrounding the words

 

An Intro to C-PACE and Greenworks Lending

Can you give us a quick intro to C-PACE?

The Montgomery County Commercial PACE (C-PACE) program authorizes commercial property owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their buildings through innovative financing. C-PACE funding is secured by the qualified property and repaid through the property tax bill over the life of the upgrade (potentially up to 100% of the cost and for up to 20 years).

 

What is your role with Greenworks Lending?

I spend my days sharing PACE with building owners and partnering with clean energy contractors to fund projects with Greenworks Lending, Montgomery County’s Designated Lender (CDL). Greenworks Lending is a rapidly growing company that provides financing for energy-saving upgrades in commercial, industrial, non-profit and multi-family buildings.

We’re working with PACE programs from Connecticut to California and everywhere in between – but I grew up in Montgomery County (Rockville) and we’re working hard to make sure the county’s C-PACE program is the poster child for the country!

 

What did you do before coming to Greenworks Lending?

My background is in healthcare finance. I launched new consulting and technology products for another fantastic local company – The Advisory Board Company. My wife and I met at the University of Pennsylvania and we just moved back to the DC area after living in San Francisco for a few years. We’re thrilled to be home.

 

In your opinion, what is the most exciting element of PACE financing in Montgomery County?

I love watching building owners’ eyes light up when they hear about the Montgomery County PACE program. Every day, I speak with owners who want to increase their building’s efficiency – both for economic and environmental reasons – but large up-front costs and tenant lease issues have gotten in the way. PACE can make these upgrades profitable from day one – a win for the both the environment and the bottom line.

 

What advice would you give to building owners considering PACE financing?

Building technology has advanced tremendously in the last decade. From lighting to solar to new high-efficiency boilers and cogeneration – it is a very exciting time to be retrofitting buildings (if that doesn’t sound too nerdy!) because the incremental gains vs. 10-year-old technology are massive. …so I guess my
advice is to get started! We have some of the best contractors in the country located right here in Montgomery County – and if you need help finding one, we can match-make.

 

What do you see on the horizon for PACE programs in the region? What’s next?

If Maryland follows the pattern of other successful PACE states, we’re going to see a rapid growth in counties that are PACE-eligible and a lot of early publicity, and then a quiet period while the first projects develop. Connecticut is a good parallel. We saw ~$15M in projects in year one, a doubling in year two, and another doubling in year 3. I think we can beat that in Maryland and drive a tremendous amount of economic and environmental impact for the state.

 

A headshot of Andrew Zech

Drew Zech

There’s more to life than PACE – Tell us about yourself!

When you’re not financing PACE programs, what do you like to do?

I learned early in life that hand-eye coordination wasn’t my strength, so my competitive nature kicked in and I got hooked on what I like to call “straight ahead sports”…rowing, swimming, running, biking. My wife and I are also big foodies and we’ve been loving the explosion of new restaurants in the area. We’re lucky to have both our families in the area – so there is a lot of niece and nephew time where Uncle Andrew is the human jungle gym.

 

Besides places in Montgomery County, where is your favorite place to visit?

It’s hard to beat Rockville Pike on a Saturday afternoon – but if you need something outside the county, I’d say Washington State’s San Juan Islands or the northern California coast. Both have such beautiful coastlines, hikes, and fresh seafood. International destinations are great, but I think American travelers under-appreciate the good old USA!

 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Earlier this month, Bill Gates said he’d choose “more energy” so that he could power the world, replace fossil fuels, and lift billions out of poverty. That’s a way better answer than mine! I choose flying.

This is our second post in our “Meet the People of PACE” series. Learn more about Jessica, the County’s PACE Administrator, in our first post of the series.

 



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