Displayed below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click on the “>” icon associated with each question to view the answer.

What is Arlington C-PACE?

Arlington C-PACE is a program that helps building owners access private-sector financing to upgrade their building with energy efficiency, clean energy, and water efficiency improvements. With C-PACE, building owners receive up to 100 percent financing with attractive repayment terms consistent with the useful life of the improvements (up to 25 years). This typically enables them to undertake large building modernization projects that addresses multiple deficiencies.

In well-designed C-PACE projects, the energy cost savings exceed the PACE payments, creating a cash-flow-positive project. By using C-PACE, building owners can reduce their operating costs, improve the value and competitiveness of their building, meet energy performance goals, and increase their cash flow. C-PACE is also available to developers with new construction projects if they design their building to exceed current energy codes.

Repayment is secured by a voluntary special assessment, similar to a sewer assessment, that is recorded on the improved property and repaid to the private capital provider over the financing term (up to 25 years). In most cases, the energy cost savings exceed the assessment payment, thereby enabling capital-intensive equipment upgrades and cash-flow-positive projects. Because the C-PACE assessment obligation remains with the property, the assessment can transfer to the next owner when the property is sold.

What is C-PACE for new construction?

Arlington commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) is an innovative new financing mechanism that allows developers to access affordable, long-term, non-recourse financing for the installation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in new buildings. Financing is provided by private capital providers through an open-market model to enable favorable rates and terms, and is secured with a voluntary assessment that is recorded on the property (similar to a sewer assessment).

You can use C-PACE if you design your building to exceed the current energy code by at least 15 percent—and it can reduce your equity contribution by as much as 20 percent. Repayment terms extend up to 25 years, and you can transfer the assessment to a new owner if you sell the property.

Who administers Arlington C-PACE?

After a competitive bidding process, Arlington County selected Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Inc. (SRS) to serve as the Arlington C-PACE program administrator.

Which Arlington County department is responsible for C-PACE?

The Arlington County Department of Environmental Services’ Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) team is spearheading the C-PACE program.

What are the county’s responsibilities?

Arlington County is responsible for program oversight in collaboration with the program administrator, SRS.

Is there an application fee for Arlington C-PACE?

No. It is free to apply for Arlington C-PACE financing.

What is the program administration fee for each project?

The Arlington C-PACE program will be self-financed thorugh program fees charged to participating property owners. A one-time program administration fee, equal to 2.5 percent of the project finance amount, not to exceed $75,000 per project, is applied to each financed project.

Does Arlington C-PACE use taxpayer dollars to fund projects?

No. Arlington C-PACE uses private capital to fund projects. Visit the Capital Providers page to see a list of qualified capital providers that participate in the program.

How does C-PACE financing benefit developers?

C-PACE financing for new construction is attractive to developers for two primary reasons: 1) it provides affordable, long-term, fixed-rate, non-recourse financing that can reduce the owner-equity contribution or the need for other types of high-cost capital, and, 2) it enables commercial property developers to achieve superior building performance by financing improvements that are often value-engineered out of a project. In addition, there is no upfront, out-of-pocket expense, and, since the financing is tied to the property, you are not required to sign a personal guarantee.

Is this a voluntary program?

Yes. Developers who choose not to participate remain unaffected.

How is the length of the repayment period determined?

Repayment periods can be up to 25 years, depending on the developer’s preference, and are limited by the weighted average effective useful life (EUL) of the financed eligible improvements.

How are tax credits, rebates, and utility incentives incorporated into C-PACE financing?

Developers are encouraged to pursue all available federal investment tax credits (ITC), utility rebates, and other incentives. All or a portion of the total incentives may be subtracted from the amount financed under the Arlington C-PACE program. Click here for Washington Gas rebates and here for Dominion programs.

Are there any fees associated with pre-payment of an Arlington C-PACE assessment?

Each private capital provider participating in C-PACE sets its own terms, including pre-payment, in its financing agreement with the building owner. It is common for C-PACE capital providers to include a pre-payment fee schedule.

Can I use any contractor?

Yes, however it is important that your contractor register with the Arlington C-PACE program. For more information on the registered contractor process, visit the User Guide or email  va@paceworx.com.

How do I apply for Arlington C-PACE financing for my project?

To apply, simply send in a completed Application Form to va@paceworx.com.

How do developers qualify for financing?

Developers must design their buildings to exceed the current Arlington energy code (IECC 2012/ASHRAE 90.1-2010) by at least 15 percent to qualify.

Which energy efficiency and renewable energy measures are eligible for C-PACE financing?

The following list of typical, long-standing, proven efficiency and conservation technologies is intended as a reference list for applicants. If a specific improvement is not included on this list, send them to the program administrator, who will review them on a case-by-case basis.

Energy efficiency

  • Automated building controls (BMS, EMS)
  • Boilers, chillers and furnaces
  • Building envelope (insulation, glazing, windows, etc.)
  • High efficiency lighting
  • Water heating systems
  • HVAC
  • New roof (if it will result in energy savings)

Renewable energy

  • Combined heat and power (CHP) systems
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal systems
  • Hydroelectric systems
  • Roof (if used to support a solar PV system)
  • Small wind systems
  • Solar PV
  • Solar thermal

Water conservation

  • Irrigation systems
  • Low-flow fixtures

Other eligible expenses

  • Commissioning costs
  • Construction costs
  • Energy audits
  • Engineering and design expenses
  • Measurement & verification costs
  • Permit fees
  • Renewable energy feasibility studies.

This list is not comprehensive. Any improvements that result in utility cost savings and that meet other program criteria will be considered. See the User Guide for more information.

Are C-PACE assessments considered off-balance sheet?

Developers are encouraged to consult their accountants on this matter.

Is there clarity on the treatment of C-PACE as an operating expense from the perspective of the accounting industry?

Developers are encouraged to consult their accountants on this matter. 

From an accounting perspective, have any auditing firms concluded that the tax lien (which supports the financing) is not a liability of the owner or the building?

There has been no specific ruling by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on this issue.

What are typical C-PACE financing interest rates?

To ensure the best possible terms, including interest rate and other fees, the develop can review term sheets from multiple qualified private capital providers, facilitated by the program administrator, to select the best fit.