County creates program aimed at helping commercial property owners finance energy efficiency, safety upgrades

The Snohomish County Council last week passed an ordinance creating a program that provides a financial tool for commercial property owners to obtain low-cost financing for energy efficiency and natural disaster and fire resiliency upgrades. Under the ordinance, the upgrades carry with the life of the property instead of the property owner.

“I was honored to work with Representative Davina Duerr on this policy when I served with her in the legislature and am so excited now to be able to help implement it in Snohomish County,” said County Councilmember Jared Mead, who co-sponsored the legislation with Councilmember Megan Dunn. Mead represents the council’s 4th District, which includes Mountlake Terrace and Brier.

The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience (C-PACER) program was unanimously approved by the council Dec. 15.

“The C-PACER program is a critically important tool both for our businesses and for our goal of having more green buildings in Snohomish County,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

“Because of upfront costs, existing buildings in particular are a challenge to retrofit to be more efficient and more resilient,” said Rachel Koller, coordinator for Shift Zero, a zero carbon building alliance that supported the passage of state C-PACER legislation. “C-PACER is a proven financing tool that will enable healthier, safer, and more climate-friendly buildings. We are excited to support Snohomish County in advancing this program.”

According to a county news release, the ordinance has support from local advocacy groups who see it as a way to mitigate environmental impacts as the county experience unprecedented growth. “Thanks to Snohomish County for giving commercial building owners new tools to move toward fossil-free buildings and climate resilience,” said Jeanne Crevier, president of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County.

Now, the county’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for convening a stakeholder work group, which will develop a program guidebook and associated documents. After development, the guidebook will be brought back before council for approval and the county will be able to start accepting qualified applications by mid to late December of 2022.

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