Guest Column

Deschutes County commissioners are considering a policy that gives commercial property owners and developers access to private financing for water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resiliency projects. The policy is called CPACE, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy.

As companies active in the hotel operations and development respectively, Merete’ and Sycan B Corp., we are supportive of a CPACE ordinance. We believe the county can and should boost local economic recovery and resiliency by implementing a CPACE ordinance to provide commercial building owners and developers supplemental financing options for performance improvements on new and existing buildings. We have seen CPACE support greener development in other parts of the country and believe it would do so in Central Oregon. Currently, we are analyzing how CPACE may allow us to move forward with a project that otherwise would not pencil. Bringing a new sustainable hotel to the area creates jobs and also increases the tax base while minimizing impacts to resources and infrastructure. Our business will benefit by offering our customers a healthier, more desirable eco-friendly experience while reducing our operating costs.

Moreover, the access to private financing enabled by CPACE supports Central Oregon’s long term commitment to sustainability and responsibility to the environment. This funding will also mitigate barriers that developed due to the recent pandemic that halted or canceled development projects. CPACE also gives commercial property owners access to technical assistance to stimulate sustainable and equitable development which is good for everyone.

When putting together the capital stack for new projects, traditional financing has come from bank debt and owner capital. Over the last 18-months, construction costs have increased to the point where these sources alone no longer provide sufficient returns for owners to move forward with new construction. Recently, we had to turn away from new developments with only these traditional funding sources available. CPACE is an efficient solution to fill that gap financing, literally having the potential to flip a prospective project from a “no” to a “yes.” CPACE has the added benefit of incentivizing utility saving and resiliency upgrades, thus offering a cost effective method to reduce operating costs and achieve local and national climate goals. Hence, authorizing CPACE offers an opportunity to generate a greater volume of new construction and building retrofits while creating more livable and just communities.

CPACE financing is available to most sectors: hospitality, commercial, industrial, office, retail, healthcare, nonprofits, churches, agriculture and multifamily (5 units or more). When a property owner or developer implements building performance improvements, not only do they reduce costs, but they also benefit the employees, customers, and tenants.

It is no secret that Central Oregon relies heavily on tourism. Travelers and residents alike value environmental responsibility and impact. Numerous studies have confirmed that as many as nine out of ten consumers in the US will change their buying decision based on environmental impact and sustainability efforts by the product or supplier. We cannot ignore the positive public relations and marketing advantage CPACE projects would provide the area as we continue to look for differentiators in a competitive market. Tourism estimated economic impact in Central Oregon in 2019/20 was over $1 billion, CPACE will support Central Oregon’s long tradition of leading by example in sustainability, care of our natural environment and commitment to responsible development.

For these reasons and more, we request that Deschutes County pass an ordinance to authorize CPACE.

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Todd Gray is chief financial officer at

Sycan B Corp./Mereté Hotel.

(1) comment

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If you want more information suggest 350Deschutes.org a local environmental organization. It is time for the Deschutes County Commissioners to step up and do something for the environmental situation.

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