National Green Garage Challenge Secures $30 Million Funding for Shops to Go Green

From CollisionWeek News

GRC-Pirk Management, the consulting firm for the national Green Garage public search engine, announced it has secured $30 million in funding for auto and collision repair shops to go green. The funding enables automotive business owners to improve energy efficiency, promote business and add equipment based on projected savings without having to increase their cost of doing business.

The Green Garage Challenge campaign recently launched a program known as Reverse Utility Financing (RUF) as an alternative to the “red tape” required under the government Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. The amount of PACE financing borrowed by a shop owner is typically repaid via a special assessment on property taxes, or another locally-collected tax or bill, such as a utility bill. Auto shop owners that opt into the PACE financing program are subject to a special property assessment. However, shop owners that opt into RUF financing program need only get certified “green” to receive funding. In addition to reducing the upfront costs, both programs are tied to the cost of an energy efficiency project to be paid back over a pre-qualified period of time.

“State laws authorizing financing for green projects has spread rapidly. 32 of the 50 states in the U.S. now require energy usage disclosure and green certification for PACE financing,” stated Jenni Bishop, CFO, GRC-Pirk Management. “In 2012, California launched a massive PACE program that, at its inception, allowed non-residential property owners in 126 cities and 14 counties to finance energy and water-efficiency projects.”

During the last 2 years, thousands of small business owners have signed up for the ENERGY STAR small business partnership program to improve energy efficiency by 10% or more. It’s still early for many shop owners, but loan approval rates through the Green Garage Challenge campaign are five to seven times the national approval rate, which hovers around 10 percent, according to the Small Business Administration.

“Since becoming registrar of the grant funded Find Green Garage program, we have assessed over $36 million dollars of green project investments. To stay focused on shop owner requirements to attain green rebates, we needed to obtain funding options from a top-shelf company, and I am very pleased to welcome Providence Capital Funding to the program,” said Steven Schillinger, President, GRC-Pirk Management.

“Financing energy efficiency projects like standard equipment projects have historically been very difficult,” said Max Sarango, Division Manager of Providence Capital Funding. “Many in the funding community have criticized the complicated methods used to value energy efficiency. But using the GRC-Pirk utilities monitoring and promotion system, combined with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software tools, makes it easy for our company to offer financing based on the reduction of a business owners cost of doing business.”

“Utilizing the GRC-Pirk utilities monitoring and promotion system allows us a war chest in excess of $30 million,” continued Mr. Sarango. “Whether to replace old equipment with new ones, or to invest in new technology, we can structure a financing program for most every automotive aftermarket business, while keeping cash in the owner’s pocket. And unlike typical bank loans, Providence Capital Funding is able to provide 100 percent financing, including soft costs such as installation and shipping.”

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