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PACE in WI: PACE Equity helps cut upfront costs

A new way of financing energy-saving building upgrades could be poised to take off.

The pay-as-you-go-approach cuts the upfront costs by allowing property owners to be assessed for the cost of projects on their property tax bills.

Examples in Milwaukee include the University Club building on E. Mason St., the Commerce building at 744 N. 4th St., which is being converted to a Springhill Suites Marriott hotel, and a new project, the Mackie Building.

PACE Equity, a Milwaukee company that formed to finance these projects, says it is poised to expand the funding mechanism to other parts of Wisconsin, as well as multiple cities around the country.

“We’re now rolling out PACE on a statewide basis,” said founder Beau Engman, a former Johnson Controls building business vice president.

PACE, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, was developed to encourage more building owners to take steps to reduce their energy use as well as the greenhouse gas emissions tied to energy use.

The Mackie Building, 225 E. Michigan St., features the ornate Grain Exchange Room, which hosts banquets, but is otherwise largely empty. Developer Josh Jeffers plans to create apartments on the six-story building’s three top floors. Learn more.