Snohomish County launches program to promote commercial building sustainability

Snohomish County has introduced a financial tool to help commercial property owners obtain low-cost financing for energy efficiency, natural disaster and resiliency upgrades that carry with the life of the property instead of the property owner.

The Snohomish County Department of Conservation & Natural Resources’ Office of Energy and Sustainability launched the Commercial Property Clean Energy & Resiliency (C-PACER) Program Monday. The C-PACER program supports the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in line with Snohomish County Joint Resolution 19-006 that committed to a goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.

“C-PACER has been a proven way to cut back on energy consumption, saving money, while also preparing our community for the next natural disaster,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said. “Since we already have a similar program serving residential property, this was the next step in our efforts to make the county more resilient and bring our energy consumption down. This is good for our businesses and our environment.”

The Snohomish County Council Dec. 15 unanimously passed Ordinance 21-097 to create the program. The C-PACER program guide with full qualifications and eligibility is available online.

“I believe strongly in the protection of our environment and natural resources and am happy to see the C-PACER program available to commercial property owners in Snohomish County,” said Snohomish County Councilmember Strom Peterson, whose 3rd District includes Edmonds, Lynnwood and Woodway. “This is strong step forward to promote green building in Snohomish County.”

According to a county news release, the C-PACER program creates a mechanism for capital providers, such as banks or credit unions, to offer low-interest financing for commercial property improvements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, increase renewable energy, promote water conservation, and encourage resiliency. Examples of qualifying projects include electric vehicle charging infrastructure, seismic retrofits, flood mitigation improvements, fire detection and suppression, energy storage, and more. Properties must be located within incorporated or unincorporated Snohomish County and must be privately owned commercial, industrial, or agricultural property or multifamily residential property with five or more dwelling units. The program fee covers the cost of program implementation and operation, and the Washington State Auditor’s Office fee for recording the closing documents on the property title.

In 2020,the Washington State Legislature passed HB 2405, which created the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) Program, codified in Chapter 36.165 Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Chapter 36.165 RCW authorizes the state of Washington and its counties to establish C-PACER programs.

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