Bloomfield Township trustees approved the establishment of a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program district in the township at their meeting on Monday, September 28, after a long-term township business, Detroit Skating Club, spoke during a public hearing and explained how they would benefit in utilizing the program to renovate the facility to save on its electric bills.
At a township meeting on August 10, Andy Levin, founder and managing partner of Lean & Green Michigan, one of Michigan's first PACE initiatives for energy efficiency and renewable energy financing, explained that he works with communities all over Michigan, "but this is the first time I get to do this in my hometown." He gave a presentation of how commercial and multi-family property owners in the township could finance energy projects and renovation by utilizing the program, where the idea is to broker long-term financing to property owners more profitably, as 30 percent of energy that buildings use is wasted, and energy upgrades take five to 20 years to pay back.
PACE districts became a possibility under Public Act 270 of 2010, which affords flexibility on financing arrangements with energy improvements, and requires the bank to consent if there is a mortgage on the property. Levin said 34 states and the District of Columbia have adopted PACE since 2005, which allows municipalities to work together. In Michigan, there are currently 15 counties and five cities which have approved PACE districts.
At the meeting, supervisor Leo Savoie said, "We want to have a comfort level that this is not just with your company, although since you made your presentation no one else has come forward. But we made all of the preparations to work with any other company."
"We are not exclusive by any means," Levin responded. "Right now we are the only PACE company operating in Michigan. It's not there's not a need for these; it's just that it takes so long, which is why there aren't more energy retrofits. The take-up has been slow, but when there are more case studies, when those stories get out, you'll hear more about it."
Lean & Green Michigan earns two percent in fees to help find lenders and contractors.
Jared Swallow, managing director of the Detroit Skating Club on Denison Court in Bloomfield Township, spoke to the board, stating that "the skating club over the last few years has been considering an expansion. We are a non-profit, member-owned facility. We have a debt structure in place. But the fact that PACE has an energy-efficient component is very important to us. We keep water frozen 365 days a year. The incentives to cut our electricity bills are huge. It would free up cash for an expansion that would be viable to our members. It helps us move forward."...continued on page 2