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Existing state program coming to El Paso County to help builders save on energy costs

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-30 10:40:13-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Local builders will have more access to funding for energy-saving upgrades.

Last week, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution to make the Colorado Commerical Property Assessed Clean Energy Program – or C-PACE –available in the county.

The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation led the advocacy to implement the program which is a financial incentive for commercial and industrial building owners. C-PACE loans help finance up to 100% of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements that make their properties more efficient, more comfortable, and more valuable.

"C-PACE is a really cool program that incentives businesses that can't afford to work with certain contractors or be able to capitalize on projects like they would for those green standards. C-PACE provides that bridge to be able to put as part of your capitol stack another financing opportunity," said Nate Grimm, Co-founder, and CFO of Kinship Landing.

He is one of many business owners that are looking forward to the new opportunities the program will bring.

"Some really great financing options both at a great rate with great terms, long term amortization. It encourages these new projects as well as old projects that participate to be able to seek out some additional funding,' said Grimm. "One of the reasons why we looked at it is because it was really hard to finance Kinship. There is a lending environment in Colorado Springs that doesn't always lend itself to innovative projects," said Grimm.

Grimm says the C-PACE loan program would change that.

"It doesn't care if you're a flagged or boutique hotel. It's there for a specific purpose, and it's not a purpose of playing not to lose for a lending institution," said Grimm.

Kinship Landing did not get to participate in C-PACE since it hadn't been available in El Paso County just yet.

"Each county has to participate in the program. When we were looking for financing, they hadn't participated yet. The resolution that just came out hadn't come out yet. So the business community
was trying to move this forward, talking to the city and county. Unfortunately, it was taking a little bit longer and we weren't able to participate," said Grimm.

C-PACE could not only help them but others in the community.

"The energy-efficient improvements that are made through the C-PACE program make utility bills lower for building owners and tenants, it makes the building more comfortable, and it makes the value of our building stock in the community a lot higher quality," said Rachel Beck, Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

The commercial building umbrella includes nonprofits and affordable housing projects.

"It's getting expensive to build and to re-develop in Colorado Springs. C-Pace is a financial tool that helps make those numbers work for people who are building a new building, people that are retrofitting an older building that may not be so efficient, or people trying to put together housing projects and keep the price point low. It's really going to help projects across the community, and it's going to mean the buildings in our community are of higher quality," said Beck.

"We have many buildings in town that are in need of upgrades and retrofitting to current standards. Whether they want to turn those into useable business buildings or other types of commercial space, their hands were a little tied because it's so expensive to upgrade HVAC, electrical, and lightening systems. All of a sudden in our legislative environment too, many of those upgrades are required but they're not being funded," said Cami Bremer, El Paso County Board of Commissioners.

"We're growing, we're feeling some growing pains and we can't be that traditional home builder driven city long term. People want to live downtown so there are going to be multi-family housing injection and hospitality projects that are coming in. We're seeing this with the Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Marriot Springhill Suites, and our property. If we want to have that welcoming environment downtown then we will have to seek out some of those innovative projects. The lending environment needs to change and we're going to see some growing pains with that as they take more risk," said Grimm.

Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates and can be repaid over up to 25 years. To learn more visit this website.