FRAMINGHAM, Mass., and LANSING, Mich. — Saginaw Plaza Ltd. signed a $437,000 energy savings performance contract (ESPC) with Ameresco to upgrade its facility in Lansing, Michigan, with energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. The facility is currently leased to the state and houses two governmental agencies: the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). MAE/MPSC worked closely with the property owner, Saginaw Plaza, and Ameresco to achieve facility improvements given the MAE/MPSC is Saginaw Plaza’s long-term tenant.

This public-private partnership for the efficiency improvements utilizes Michigan’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) statute. PACE is a simple and effective way to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades. PACE can pay for new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps, insulation, and more for almost any commercial, industrial, nonprofit, and agricultural property. Property owners are using PACE because it saves them money and helps make their buildings more valuable. PACE financing pays for 100 percent of a project’s costs and is repaid for up to 20 years. PACE financing stays with the building with an assessment added to the property’s tax bill upon sale. Local governments sponsor PACE financing to create jobs, promote economic development, and protect the environment.

“The Michigan Agency for Energy is committed to reducing our energy usage and to being more efficient. Our combined efforts with our landlord and Ameresco have allowed us to effectively upgrade our facilities while utilizing taxpayer dollars in the most effective and environmentally responsible way,” said Valerie Brader, director, MAE. “In addition, we are the first state agency in the United States to utilize PACE financing for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.”

Jim Ferguson, manager and general partner, Saginaw Plaza, said, “After researching this new form of financing for clean energy projects we got very excited about being one of the first to use PACE financing for lease to a state agency.”

The ESPC with Ameresco includes energy efficiency upgrades and infrastructure improvements such as interior and exterior LED lighting, an energy kiosk, and a new pole-mounted 20kw solar array. By utilizing PACE, the owner was able to obtain 20-year, fixed-rate financing for the clean energy measures. Annual energy savings are expected to exceed $25,000. The savings due to reduced energy consumption exceeds the cost of repaying the loan. In addition, Saginaw Plaza is able to take advantage of tax credits. Additional energy conservation measures were identified during the energy audit and implemented by the developer including additional insulation, two electric vehicle charging stations, and weatherization. In the future, the owner also plans to include a new Michigan-made daylight emulation skylight by Arborlight.

“Ameresco commends Saginaw Plaza and MAE for embracing this unique project that is expected to help reduce operating costs, and allows both entities to take a leadership role in economic and environmental stewardship in their community,” said Louis Maltezos, executive vice president, Ameresco. “Working together we’ve been able to add value and leverage valuable financial tools. Saginaw Plaza receives the economic benefits of the budget-neutral upgrades with the improvements paid by the savings, while MAE tenants will benefit from the building enhancements and greater comfort.”

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Publication date: 9/14/2015

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