GAYLORD—Treetops Resort near Gaylord has become the first business in northern Michigan to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing on nearly $3 million in energy efficiency renovations.
The project is expected to save the resort $3.3 million over 25 years through energy waste reduction and help Treetops meet its sustainability goals.
“With this PACE project funding, we will be able to make improvements that our guests will not only see, but also feel,” said Barry Owens, Treetops general manager. “These improvements include HVAC systems, improvements to building envelopes, interior and exterior lighting, plumbing and domestic water controls, irrigation controls, and additional improvements. Of equal importance, this project will reduce Treetops Resort’s carbon footprint through reduced needs of energy resources.”
The project includes LED lighting, new heating and cooling hardware and control systems, and improved insulation.
PACE financing makes energy-saving improvements feasible for commercial and industrial buildings. Commercial building owners in the United States spend $200 billion a year on utlilities—30 percent of which is waste. The energy projects that would make these properties efficient often require significant up-front capital and take years to achieve break-even—but commercial loans typically have a term of only three to five years, making the annual payment greater than the energy savings. PACE allows property owners to to finance energy efficiency through a loan secured by a property tax special assessment with terms of up to 25 years. Like any other property tax special assessment, the financing is transferred when the property changes hands. A total of 36 states have now authorized PACE financing.
Otsego County, where Treetops is located, joined the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program in 2017. Currently, 28 of Michigan’s 83 counties are participating in the program, along with 20 cities and townships. More at https://leanandgreenmi.com/how_pace_works.