Excelen is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization that educates and assists orthopedic researchers as they develop innovative surgical and rehabilitative techniques. Located in downtown Minneapolis, with over 10,000 square feet of floor space, Excelen is currently one of the fastest growing research labs in the Twin Cities. To assist in this growth, Excelen recently used PACE to double its investment in new mechanical equipment and building controls. The center’s executive director, Tom Mowbray, called PACE “an incredible tool for companies who want to complete energy-related projects. We already have 25 percent energy savings showing up our electric bill.”
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners in cities and counties that allow it. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing.
To get a better understanding of Excelen’s experience with PACE and how it’s helping them save so much energy, Tom Mowbray shared his answers to a few questions.
Can you tell me a little bit about what your company does?
We are a small medical research company located in downtown Minneapolis. We own a 60,000 sq/ft office building located next to HCMC. About 80% of the space is leased out, and we use the balance for our business. We have a bio-skills lab for training surgeons on implants and research, and a mechanical engineering lab for testing medical device components and materials.
What motivated you to use PACE financing through the Saint Paul Port Authority?
It was the easiest option, with best interest rate and geared toward the type of projects we were planning.
How did you learn about the program?
We learned about the program through our HVAC vendor.
What was the process like?
Simple, quick, easy!
Can you tell us more about the mechanical equipment and building controls improvements you made? What has the impact been on your operations and you energy costs?
We installed a new computerized control system for the entire building. We added a heat exchange system that allows us more flexibility to control heat and air conditioning during the changeover seasons in spring and fall, and we added some insulation to control heat loss of our hot water radiant heat tubes. We have seen a substantial reduction in utility expenses and a much more controlled environment in the building.
Would you recommend PACE other businesses? Why or why not?
We would absolutely recommend to other businesses because as mentioned above it’s simple, quick, and easy.