Thurston County Commissioners Pass C-PACER Ordinance

Submitted by Thurston Climate Action Team

Earlier this week, the Thurston County Commissioners passed the C-PACER ordinance with the support of the Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT), the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, and the Shift Zero Coalition.  In doing so, Thurston County  joins Whatcom County as one of the first counties to implement C-PACER in Washington. Efforts in King and Pierce Counties are also underway.

C-PACER, which stands for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency Act, was passed by the Washington State legislature in 2020, allows owners of commercial, industrial, multi-family residential (5 units or more), and agricultural property owners to obtain more flexible loans for clean energy improvements on their buildings.

According to TCAT Board President Tom Crawford, C-PACER loans are more flexible because the loan is attached to the property, not the individual or company that applied for the loan; thus, whoever owns the property and benefits from the improvement, also repays the loan.  Under this new legislation, the program must be established by counties.

Because C-PACER benefits can make it more attractive for property owners to make clean energy improvements, TCAT made early efforts to encourage Thurston County to implement C-PACER. With the improvements also comes more local jobs, reduced energy use and carbon emissions, healthier buildings, increased resilience to disasters, and direct value for property owners. All of these connect to the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan which has also been accepted by Thurston County.

In late 2020 and early 2021, TCAT provided and facilitated a series of briefings and Question and Answer sessions on C-PACER with the Thurston Board of County Commissioners.  They did so with support from C-PACER advocates and experts from throughout Washington State and by using a model ordinance and procedures and forms provided by the Shift Zero Coalition.  Chris van Daalen (TCAT board member and Northwest Ecobuilding Guild representative) and Greg Quetin led and coordinated the TCAT effort.

“With this action”, said Crawford, “the Commissioners provided an important tool for financing clean energy work in our region.”

For more information on TCAT, go to Thurston Climate Action Team website or call 360.350.6507.

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