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PACE in MI: PACE offers building owners options to upgrade to efficient equipment

Businesses frequently run into challenges when they look to upgrade to more efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC equipment. Namely, the new systems can be really expensive to purchase and the payoff for the investment can take years.

But a newly-formed initiative in Southwest Michigan aims to change that.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) initiative, which was approved by the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners in early April, acts as a financing mechanism for commercial building owners to upgrade energy-using equipment, anything from HVAC systems to solar panels to lighting.

“There is basically this huge problem in the U.S. and really throughout the world with commercial and industrial properties. Utilities cost a lot of money, especially when you’re talking about a building stock that could be 20-, 30- or 40-years-old on average,” said Kyle Peczynski, clean energy project manager at Levin Energy Partners LLC. The Southfield-based company administers the PACE program throughout the state and in Kalamazoo County.

The statewide PACE program — dubbed “Lean and Green Michigan” — must be adopted by a county, city or township governing body, but all financing for PACE projects is done through the private sector, meaning taxpayers aren’t left on the hook.

With the approval of its initiative, Kalamazoo County becomes the 12th county in Michigan to implement the PACE program. Five cities have also implemented it, mostly in suburban Detroit. Calhoun County and Muskegon County are currently exploring creating PACE districts, sources said. Read more.