In the Know: Identifying tips and practices for a more sustainable future

Reno, NV Launches New Financing Tool for Sustainable Buildings

Reno, NV – On October 2, in celebration of Energy Efficiency Day, Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) announced the launch of the Reno Commercial Property Clean Energy Program. SRS partners with state and local governments to administer commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) programs. Reno's C-PACE program was established in April 2019 when the City Council adopted Resolutions No. 8661 and No. 8662.

Under C-PACE, owners of existing commercial, industrial and multifamily (with 5 or more units) buildings will be able to finance up to 100 percent of the cost of qualifying energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects, for up to 25 years. To be eligible, the project’s estimated energy cost savings, over the useful life of the improvements, must exceed the financing amount. Such projects create positive cash flow for the property owner.

Commercial property developers can use the program to finance up to 20 percent of the eligible construction cost of a new building, provided the building is designed to meet or exceed the City’s building energy code (IECC 2018/ASHRAE 90.1-2016). C-PACE financing has proven attractive to developers in other states who use it to avoid “value engineering” high-performance measures out of their project, fill gaps in their financing plan, and reduce their weighted average cost of capital.

“We are proud that Reno is continuing its energy efficiency leadership in Nevada and this innovative financing approach to sustainability that will create local job opportunities, increase energy savings, and improve air quality - all financed with private capital,” said Reno’s Energy Advisor Suzanne Linfante. “The launch of this project was made possible under Reno’s participation in the City Energy Project which enabled the City to hire SRS for the program design.”

Project financing is provided by private capital providers in an open market and repaid through a voluntary assessment placed on the owner’s property similar to a special improvement district assessment. Since the financing is tied to the property, the owner is not required to sign a personal guarantee and the C-PACE assessment can transfer to a new owner upon sale. SRS will handle outreach, education, project underwriting and quality assurance services.

“Reno is poised to jumpstart energy efficiency and renewable energy investment and the SRS team is delighted to help bring C-PACE to the City,” said SRS CEO Brian McCarter.

Reno's 2019-2025 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 28 percent (from 2008 levels) by the year 2025 and 40 percent by 2030. A community-wide greenhouse gas inventory showed that emissions decreased by 13.6 percent from 2008 to 2014. One of the plan’s nine priorities is ‘Green Building as Standard Practice.'

For additional information:
Suzanne Linfante
City of Reno Energy Advisor

For resources and tools related to sustainability, visit the Center for Sustainability (C4S) and C4S Toolkit.