Local Public Charter School Gets a Green Upgrade

08/17/2016

Through the efforts of two of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) programs, a local charter school will save enough money on their energy and water bills to pay for $1.6 million in improvements to their facilities. Today, the DC Property Assessed Clean Energy (DC PACE) financing program and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) jointly announced the launch of a major renovation project for the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in the Brookland neighborhood. The project is being financed by DC PACE, an innovative financing program, administered by DOEE, that allows local commercial building owners to fund building upgrades from future utility savings. This marks the fourth DC PACE deal inked under Mayor Bowser’s Administration, representing nearly $2.75 million total in clean energy and water investments, with other major PACE deals in the pipeline.

This green building project, developed by the local energy services provider ThinkBox Group, will result in capital improvements and infrastructure upgrades to mechanical equipment, energy and water conservation measures, and the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftop of the school. The project also received $198,000 in efficiency incentives from the DCSEU.

“Several years ago our Board of Trustees decided that the time had come to begin much ‐ needed facility upgrades,” said Erika Bryant, Executive Director of Elsie Whitlow Stokes Charter School. “Thanks to ThinkBox, Urban Ingenuity, and the DC PACE program, the Stokes School has begun to make these improvements and the whole school community is thrilled about being in a more comfortable learning environment. Another benefit of this work is the opportunity it will afford students to gain first ‐ hand knowledge about energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Our students will learn yet another way to demonstrate Stokes’ three school rules: ‘To take care of ourselves, others, and our community.’”

The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Charter School serves 350 pre ‐ school and elementary students in the District through an innovative dual language immersion program. These building upgrades will result in major improvements to their facilities, while also reducing the facilities’ operating expenses, which will enable more resources to be directed towards the school’s educational mission.

“DC PACE is thrilled to support this upgrade to a local public charter school,” said Bracken Hendricks, CEO of Urban Ingenuity, DC PACE program administrator. “PACE is a powerful tool for charter schools and other community nonprofits with limited operating budgets. Every dollar we can save them on utility bills flows right back into upgrading the facility and reducing their costs in the future.”

“This DCSEU incentive will help to offset the expense of hiring local community based businesses,” said DCSEU managing director Ted Trabue, “these resources flow directly to District ‐ based contractors, particularly those serving low ‐ income communities, and improve the local building stock while bringing new investment back into our communities.”

The DCSEU incentive is supporting the work of contractors WL Gary and Greenscape Environmental Services, both Certified Business Enterprise firms in the District of Columbia. Maryland ‐ based firm SunTrail is installing the rooftop solar panels. Capital for PACE financing was provided by Greenworks Lending, LLC, a Connecticut ‐ based investor in PACE projects.

DC PACE is a Department of Energy and Environment program that provides private sector capital to property owners, with 100% upfront financing for building improvements that save energy or water. For more information, visit doee.dc.gov/service/dc ‐ pace ‐ commercial.

The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps DC residents and businesses use less energy and save money. Since 2011, the DCSEU has delivered financial incentives, technical assistance, and information to tens of thousands of District residents and businesses, helping them to save millions of dollars on their energy costs. Its work is building a brighter economic, environmental, and energy future for the District. The DCSEU is operated by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, as part of the Sustainable Energy Partnership, a team of seasoned, local collaborative organizations that collectively brings together national leadership in energy efficiency, renewable energy, program planning and implementation, and local community networks. For more information, visit www.dcseu.com.

Urban Ingenuity is the private ‐ sector administrator for the DC PACE Commercial Program. With special expertise in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and other tools of public and private financing, Urban Ingenuity brings new capital resources to support deep energy efficiency retrofits of commercial and multi ‐ family buildings, and to support project development of clean ‐ energy micro ‐ grids, co ‐ generation facilities, and solar installations. Whether you're a building owner, property manager, investor or project developer, Urban Ingenuity can help you cut costs, enhance financial performance, and fund your capital improvement. For more information, please visit www.urbaningenuity.com or call (202) 796 ‐ 8925.

ThinkBox Group is an emerging leader in the Energy as a Service (EAAS) industry with an experienced team of entrepreneurs, engineers, financiers and business leaders. They have developed over $200M in renewable energy, distributed generation, energy / water efficiency and operations technology projects that will generate more than $10M in cost savings annually. The Energy as a Service model focuses on the desired business and community outcomes that can be developed from solutions that increase cash flows from efficiencies generated through the everyday use of electricity, gas and water and associated operations. ThinkBox addresses un ‐ met needs, underutilized assets and overlooked geographical regions. For more information, please visit www.thinkboxgroup.com.

For Media Inquiries :

Upasana Kaku , Urban Ingenuity, ukaku@urbaningenuity.com (202) 796 ‐ 8925
Alexsis Blakely , DCSEU, ablakely@dcseu.com (202) 677 ‐ 4857