Prologis sets the PACE

The company’s headquarters at Pier 1 in San Francisco, a historic waterfront property already recognized for its sustainable redevelopment, is now receiving an energy efficiency overhaul, thanks to financing through the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. The project represents the biggest PACE commercial retrofit in the country.

The PACE program is an assessment mechanism in the United States that accesses low-cost, long-term capital to finance improvements to private property that meet a public purpose. PACE funds finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to buildings. Interested property owners evaluate measures that achieve energy savings and receive 100 percent financing, repaid as a property tax assessment for up to 20 years. By eliminating upfront costs, providing low-cost long-term financing and making it easy for building owners to transfer repayment obligations to a new owner upon sale, PACE overcomes challenges that have hindered adopted of energy efficiency and related projects in U.S. buildings.

The PACE program is currently available in 28 states, with commercial PACE programs active in Connecticut, South Florida and California. The $1.6-million project at Prologis’ headquarters include retrofits to 1,500 lighting fixtures, a 200-kilowatt rooftop solar panel array and an overhaul of the HVAC system. Work on the project, overseen by Johnson Controls, should be completed by February 2013. The improvements are projected to reduce the company’s purchased electricity by 32 percent, thus cutting its utility bills by $98,000 annually.

“This is the first project of its kind and by far the biggest commercial PACE upgrade in the country,” said Cliff Staton, Executive Vice President, Renewable Funding. “The Prologis project puts San Francisco and California at the forefront of what could be a very significant state and national move toward energy efficiency in the private commercial building sector.”

Ninety percent of the Prologis project was financed with a $1.4-million, 20-year, low-interest bond purchased by Clean Fund, a San Rafael-based PACE project financier, from the City of San Francisco. San Francisco participates in CaliforniaFIRST, the nation’s largest PACE program, which launched in September.

Justin Gerdes, contributor,, November 19, 2012

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