A sustainability landmark in Memphis was approved at the EDGE September board meeting with the inaugural C-PACER program for Tennessee. Memphis will be the first city in the state to adopt these resiliency measurements for economic growth and will serve as a blueprint for later municipal programs.
The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy & Resiliency (C-PACER) program provides financing for conservation improvements through a voluntary property assessment.
Commercial property owners are given economic development incentives for integrating resiliency measures into renovation and construction. Sustainable development often exceeds project budget spending; C-PACER provides a framework for these expenses with low-cost financing from private lenders. C-PACER projects must meet one or more of the following objectives:
- Decrease energy consumption
- Produce clean, renewable energy
- Decrease water consumption
- Improve safe drinking water
- Make overall resiliency improvements in terms of wastewater reduction, flood mitigation, stormwater management, wind resistance, or energy storage
- Projects must conform to the International Conservation Code and/or seismic requirements in the International Building Code
This is also an economic development tool that reduce operating costs for businesses and provides security to lenders. Improved loan terms make resiliency projects more financially feasible. As a privately financed tool, C-PACER does not require a reduction of taxes, grants, or other public funding. These projects must also exceed $1 million and plan to spend at least 25% with MWBEs (Minority/Women Business Enterprises).
“We thought interest in the program would most appeal to retrofitting existing buildings, but to our surprise, the majority of inquiries have come from new construction projects,” said John Lawrence, EDGE Senior Economic Development Specialist.
To date, roughly 28 states have active CPACER programs and another ten are in various stages of implementing their own programs. C-PACER is a collaboration between the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee, and EDGE who will serve as the administrator of the program.