(The Center Square) – A low-cost financing program to improve green energy efficiency in commercial properties has been launched by Snohomish County.

The Commercial Property Clean Energy & Resiliency Program provides the opportunity for commercial property owners in Snohomish County to obtain low-cost financing for energy efficiency and natural disaster upgrades.

The program supports the Snohomish County Joint resolution that has the goal of making the county rely on 100% clean energy by 2045.

Banks and credit unions can utilize the Commercial Property Clean Energy & Resiliency Program to offer low-interest financing for commercial properties that are seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, increase renewable energy or promote water conservation.

Snohomish County provided examples of commercial projects that qualify for the low-interest financing program. Examples include electric vehicle charging infrastructure, seismic retrofits, flood mitigation improvements, fire detection and energy storage. 

No upfront government funds are used as part of this program, according to the county. It is defined as a loan agreement between a private lender and the property owner, much like a mortgage or home improvement loan.

Qualified projects will be repaid to a capital provider and secured by a county lien assigned to a capital provider for the administrative aspects of billing, collecting and enforcing the lien.

A $1,500 program fee for qualified projects goes towards the cost of program implementation and operation. The Auditor’s Office fee goes towards recording the closing documents on the property title, according to the county.

Commercial properties have to be located within the county and must be a privately-owned commercial, industrial, or agricultural property or multifamily residential property with five or more dwelling units. 

A similar program is already in place to provide opportunities for Snohomish County residents low-interest loans for clean energy improvements to their properties. The Energy Smart Loan Program began in 2012 and has made more than $17 million in low-interest loans to Snohomish County residents for energy efficiency home improvements, according to the county.

“[The Commercial Property Clean Energy & Resiliency Program] has been a proven way to cut back on energy consumption, saving money, while also preparing our community for the next natural disaster,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in a statement. “Since we already have a similar program serving residential property, this was the next step in our efforts to make the County more resilient and bring our energy consumption down. This is good for our businesses and our environment.”

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