An innovative financing program opened the door for a Montgomery County business to make energy-efficient building improvements that will help increase its energy savings by about 30% per year.
By Kimberly Hodges and Felicia Hodges
With the cost of renovations being what they are, sometimes it’s not that easy to be green. But thanks to the county’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, one business celebrated its new renovations with a “green” ribbon cutting as Montgomery County’s first C-PACE financed project.
On April 20, 2017, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner and others attended the ceremony at the Shady Grove Professional Building and the adjacent Comfort Inn in Gaithersburg owned by ProMark Real Estate, LLC. In addition to being the first Montgomery County C-PACE project, it is also the first C-PACE project in the state of Maryland.
Celebrating C-PACE Successes
“I love coming to the traditional ground breaking ceremonies, but here we’re coming to a ribbon cutting ceremony – which means that we have completed something. And it won’t be the last thing we complete,” County Executive Leggett said. “This is a wonderful day for Montgomery County.”
C-PACE was established in the county in June 2015 as a way to provide financing to commercial property owners interested in making their buildings more energy efficient.
“I saw it working in other communities and thought to myself ‘We can do this here in Montgomery County’ – and we have,” Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner said. “I’m so pleased that this is the first in Montgomery County, the first in the state, and there will be many more like this when the word gets out.”
What’s Been Upgraded?
The project renovations include lighting improvements and digital controls to make the 31-year-old Professional Building’s systems operate more efficiently. The project also included replacing the Comfort Inn’s temperature control devices and bathroom exhaust fans to more energy efficient ones. The fans now have sensors that automatically turn on once condensation is detected on the bathroom mirrors.
The guest rooms also now have wireless thermostats with sensors on the units and the room doors that keep the temperature consistent when the room is occupied and shut off when it is empty.
The Shady Grove Professional Building and Comfort Inn project was first announced in October 2016 and completed in March of this year. According to Keith Derrington, the Chief Operating Officer of the project’s energy contractor, Recurrent, LLC, the upgrades are expected to net about $156,000 in cost savings per year between the two buildings, which represent a whopping 30% energy savings.
“Those improvements were needed but would have been hard to justify on a regular operating budget of a commercial building,” Derrington said. “PACE is that mechanism that allows you to leverage those savings and use them to make some pretty significant improvements.”
How C-PACE is Helping Building Owners and the County
The C-PACE program has the potential to help the county with initiatives including job creation, sustainability, and helping reach its 80% greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2050.
“This program has enormous potential to drive real change in our building community,” Lisa Feldt, Director of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said. “We’re looking forward to many more ribbon cuttings in the future as we continue to get more projects on the ground to create a community of sustainable buildings and businesses that are proud to call Montgomery County home.”
C-PACE financing can cover up to 100% of project costs and is repaid as a long-term surcharge on the property tax bill, which allows Montgomery County building owners to make clean energy upgrades and energy-efficient improvements without upfront capital costs.
For more information about the C-PACE for property owners, visit www.mc-pace.com.
The creative team of Kimberly Hodges, Antoinette Charles-Aqui, and Felicia Hodges work together to cover a variety of environmental, community and public service events throughout the Capital region.