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Southfield Businesses Get New Tool to Save Energy and Money

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mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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SOUTHFIELD — Commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners in the City of Southfield will now have access to an innovative new tool to finance energy efficiency projects and renewable energy improvements for their buildings.

The Southfield City Council has voted to become the first city government to join Lean & Green Michigan, a public-private partnership facilitating economic development, the creation of good jobs, and improving the environment.

Southfield’s membership in Lean & Green Michigan allows for the adoption of a citywide Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, which enables property owners to take on voluntary special assessments in order to finance improvements or construction that reduce energy and water use or utilize renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar, and wind power.

Financing energy improvements through a special property assessment offers several advantages over a traditional bank loan, including:
* The property owner often pays nothing down.
* Projects can be amortized and paid back over a longer period of time (up to 20 years).
* Contractors working on energy projects of $250,000 or more must guarantee the energy savings.

“The City of Southfield is excited to share this new tool with property owners,” said Business Development Manager Rochelle Freeman. “Additionally, we anticipate that the significant advantages offered by the program will entice reinvestment into the community.”

Under the PACE Program, property owners conduct an energy audit of the facility they wish to improve and apply to Lean & Green Michigan.  A company may engage its own bank or other financial institution, or seek guidance from Lean & Green Michigan to find an appropriate finance partner.

“The City of Southfield is committed to staying in the forefront of innovative and company-friendly economic development and energy efficiency policies,” said Southfield Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence, lauding the City Council’s action. “Any time we can help our businesses save money, conserve energy, and improve their property value, it’s a win-win for everybody.  Developing more efficient, comfortable and affordable buildings will attract more prospective owners and tenants, plus lead to the creation of jobs in the city.”

Through Lean & Green Michigan, Southfield is able to create a PACE district at no cost to taxpayers.  Additionally, the city is helping create a multi-jurisdictional energy finance market that is especially beneficial to Southfield businesses that own property in other cities or counties. Instead of each city and county creating and administering its own set of rules, all jurisdictions may join the partnership, leading to one efficient set of rules across the state.

Southfield property owners interested in participating in the PACE Program should contact Freeman at (248) 796-4161 or rfreeman@cityofsouthfield.com.

Lean & Green Michigan is a project of Levin Energy Partners, LLC and is the brainchild of Andy Levin, former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth and attorney Mark Bennett of the law firm of Miller Canfield, which serves as PACE counsel to jurisdictions participating in the effort.

Other partners include Citigroup, Lockheed Martin, Johnson Controls Inc., AKT Peerless, Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Celtic Energy Inc. and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. For more information, visit www.leanandgreenmi.com.

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