Author Archives: Joshua Myers

Board of Directors Elected a New Chair and Two New Board Members

The Montgomery County Green Bank (Green Bank) announces the election of a new Chair to its Board of Directors and two new Board members. The incoming Chair succeeds the inaugural Chair who has held the role since the Green Bank’s inception in 2016 and has guided it through initial operational set-up and initial product launches.  The two new Board members join to replace a founding Board member and a County-appointed position.

The Green Bank has benefited from the depth of experience and understanding of the national green bank landscape provided by its founding Chair, Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer of the Connecticut Green Bank.  Under Mr. Hunter’s leadership, the Green Bank secured funding from the County and several foundations to supports its programs, developed an initial set of products and transactions that demonstrate the role of the Green Bank, and created a robust operational infrastructure. “I am proud of the accomplishments of the Montgomery County Green Bank to launch an initial set of market-relevant products that can support the growth of clean energy investment in the County,” stated Mr. Hunter.  “The introduction of a Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables, a residential loan for homeowners called Clean Energy Advantage, a renewable energy program for nonprofits, and a small business energy finance program will be valuable tools for the market. I am very pleased that Bonnie Norman has been elected by the Board to be Chair of the Green Bank. Ms. Norman has been an active and fundamental Board member since the Green Bank’s inception and has served as Vice Chair and a member of the Executive Committee from the start,” concluded Mr. Hunter. Mr. Hunter also thanked Ms. Stacy Swann and Ms. Hope Brown Saxton for their work on the Executive Committee since 2016 as they stepped down from these positions.

Ms. Norman, President of E3 International, was elected by the Board at its June 26, 2020 Board meeting to be the Green Bank’s next Chair.  Ms. Norman has been engaged at many levels throughout her tenure on the Board including on the Executive Committee, Product Development Committee, and as Chair of the Partnerships and Funding Committee. “I am excited about how far the Green Bank has progressed and that it is poised to make significant contributions to the County, advancing our mission to support diverse, equitable, and inclusive green economy growth and jobs,” noted Ms. Norman. “This is a pivotal moment for the Green Bank to catalyze clean energy investment that can help the County’s businesses and residents not only improve their carbon footprint and energy savings but also address the need for higher quality indoor air measures to provide healthier living and working environments,” continued Ms. Norman. Ms. Norman will be joined on the Executive Committee by Ms. Marcene Mitchell and Mr. Robert Sahadi as co-Vice Chairs, and Mr. Hunter as Secretary.

The Green Bank also approved two new Board members to complete the 11-member Board of Directors. Mr. Michael Coveyou joins as the Montgomery County representative for the Department of Finance. Mr. Coveyou is the current Director of Finance for the County and replaces Mr. Rob Hagedoorn from the County. Mr. Coveyou has been in the Montgomery County Finance Department for twenty-seven years.

The Green Bank, upon the recommendation of the Recruitment Committee, also appointed Ms. Marissa Ramirez as a member of the Board of Directors to replace founding Board member Mr. Michael Gergen of the firm of Latham & Watkins.  Ms. Ramirez is the Senior Community Climate Strategy Manager for the People and Communities Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ms. Ramirez has worked with neighbors and local leaders, primarily in underserved communities of color, on revitalization efforts by providing best practices and tools for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Board of Directors Elected a New Chair and Two New Board Members

The Montgomery County Green Bank (Green Bank) announces the election of a new Chair to its Board of Directors and two new Board members. The incoming Chair succeeds the inaugural Chair who has held the role since the Green Bank’s inception in 2016 and has guided it through initial operational set-up and initial product launches.  The two new Board members join to replace a founding Board member and a County-appointed position.

The Green Bank has benefited from the depth of experience and understanding of the national green bank landscape provided by its founding Chair, Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer of the Connecticut Green Bank.  Under Mr. Hunter’s leadership, the Green Bank secured funding from the County and several foundations to supports its programs, developed an initial set of products and transactions that demonstrate the role of the Green Bank, and created a robust operational infrastructure. “I am proud of the accomplishments of the Montgomery County Green Bank to launch an initial set of market-relevant products that can support the growth of clean energy investment in the County,” stated Mr. Hunter.  “The introduction of a Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables, a residential loan for homeowners called Clean Energy Advantage, a renewable energy program for nonprofits, and a small business energy finance program will be valuable tools for the market. I am very pleased that Bonnie Norman has been elected by the Board to be Chair of the Green Bank. Ms. Norman has been an active and fundamental Board member since the Green Bank’s inception and has served as Vice Chair and a member of the Executive Committee from the start,” concluded Mr. Hunter. Mr. Hunter also thanked Ms. Stacy Swann and Ms. Hope Brown Saxton for their work on the Executive Committee since 2016 as they stepped down from these positions.

Ms. Norman, President of E3 International, was elected by the Board at its June 26, 2020 Board meeting to be the Green Bank’s next Chair.  Ms. Norman has been engaged at many levels throughout her tenure on the Board including on the Executive Committee, Product Development Committee, and as Chair of the Partnerships and Funding Committee. “I am excited about how far the Green Bank has progressed and that it is poised to make significant contributions to the County, advancing our mission to support diverse, equitable, and inclusive green economy growth and jobs,” noted Ms. Norman. “This is a pivotal moment for the Green Bank to catalyze clean energy investment that can help the County’s businesses and residents not only improve their carbon footprint and energy savings but also address the need for higher quality indoor air measures to provide healthier living and working environments,” continued Ms. Norman. Ms. Norman will be joined on the Executive Committee by Ms. Marcene Mitchell and Mr. Robert Sahadi as co-Vice Chairs, and Mr. Hunter as Secretary.

The Green Bank also approved two new Board members to complete the 11-member Board of Directors. Mr. Michael Coveyou joins as the Montgomery County representative for the Department of Finance. Mr. Coveyou is the current Director of Finance for the County and replaces Mr. Rob Hagedoorn from the County. Mr. Coveyou has been in the Montgomery County Finance Department for twenty-seven years.

The Green Bank, upon the recommendation of the Recruitment Committee, also appointed Ms. Marissa Ramirez as a member of the Board of Directors to replace founding Board member Mr. Michael Gergen of the firm of Latham & Watkins.  Ms. Ramirez is the Senior Community Climate Strategy Manager for the People and Communities Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ms. Ramirez has worked with neighbors and local leaders, primarily in underserved communities of color, on revitalization efforts by providing best practices and tools for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Notice of June 12, 2020 Board Meeting

Date: Friday June 12, 2020, 8:00-9:00 a.m.
Location: Teleconference

The Montgomery County Green Bank will be holding a Board of Directors Meeting on Wednesday June 24, 2020 at 1:30-4:30 pm. The public is permitted to attend this meeting.  If you would like to be there, please RSVP in advance to info@mcgreenbank.org. The meeting agenda may be found here (updated June 10)

Online Resources, Webinars, and Trainings

Online Resources, Webinars, and Trainings For You and Your Staff

Are you thinking of ways to enrich your staff while you’re staying-at-home?You can take advantage of these learn-at-home resources.

ENERGY STAR Recorded Webinars and Online Contractor Trainings
Learn about the latest ENERGY STAR residential programs, recognizing advanced energy efficiency in homes, or revisit your contractor trainings for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, and refresh requirements, objectives, and strategies

Home Energy Score Training Webinars
Brush up on your Home Energy Score understanding with these webinars from the U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge

The Smart Energy Home: Driving Residential Building Decarbonization
States, cities, and utilities across the region have made aggressive commitments to deep carbon reductions. Distributed energy resources coupled with strategic electrification is critical in achieving these carbon reductions. But adding electric load and distributing resources has the potential to cause additional problems for energy systems. Enter the smart energy home. Already being pursued for customer benefits, smart energy homes can turn potential load liabilities into grid assets.
The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) hosted a public webinar to explore their 2019 report. View the slides or webinar recording.

Building Performance Association Online Trainings
Online Training offers a flexible and cost-effective opportunity for you to gain the knowledge you need to take your skillset to the next level. BPA courses allow for you to earn CEUs and learn about the most cutting edge topics in residential energy efficiency from our industry’s top trainers.

HabitatX Curated Webinars
The Habitat X Webinars are built with a simple principle in mind: to connect working professionals at their desks in ways that are meaningful and productive. For this series of Spring Webinars, we chose topics that were on the agenda for the 2019 Summer National Conference. Current webinars include “The Good Business of Healthier Homes”, “The Whirlwind Evolution of Modern Utilities”, and “A Bullish Approach to Home Performance”.

Small Business Resources during COVID-19

Small Business Resources Available For You During This Time

 

We wanted to be sure you were aware of the following local, state, and federal resources available or in process at this time. We recommend checking out the Montgomery County Economic Development Authority COVID-19 resource site which has compiled all levels of resources for small businesses.

Local Resources:  Applications Open This Week

  • The Montgomery County Executive and County Council together have set aside $20 million in funding to support small businesses and nonprofits who are struggling to survive the economic impact of COVID-19. The program application will open this week and can be found on the County’s website.
State Resources:
Federal Resources:

Notice of June 24, 2020 Board Meeting

Date: Wednesday June 24, 2020, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: TBD

The Montgomery County Green Bank will be holding a Board of Directors Meeting on Wednesday June 24, 2020 at 1:30-4:30 pm. The public is permitted to attend this meeting.  If you would like to be there, please RSVP in advance to info@mcgreenbank.org. You may find the meeting agenda here.

Green Partners: GreenGen

Green Partners: GreenGen — Enriching Sustainability

Welcome to our Green Partners series, highlighting our partners in the community that help make Montgomery County Green Bank a success.

We talked with Brad Dockser, CEO and Founder of GreenGen, to learn about its latest successes and why they are proud to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank.


Tell us about GreenGen and your work there.

 

Brad Dockser [BD]: We are a true end-to-end energy solutions provider for the built environment – we engineer, implement and invest in cutting-edge energy efficiency solutions. We help our clients ‘operate in the green’ and improve their double bottom lines by lowering operating costs, increasing asset value, and improving sustainability. We have offices worldwide in DC, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, and we have five main business arms: Solutions, Ventures, Analytics, Trading and Property.


What are the key decisions your clients make when moving a project forward?

 

BD: The biggest competitor to us is inertia. Until people do their first project, they don’t fully understand how powerful it can be. There’s always something else to do: sign a lease, buy a building, or hire someone. The biggest challenge is to get people to pay attention to move the project forward. But once it’s started, it accelerates. Our biggest clients are increasingly doing more and and doing it faster.


What’s something exciting you’re working on now?

 

BD: Everything! What we’re enjoying right now is that firms we’ve worked with in the past are coming back to us wanting to do more, and firms that didn’t want to do much before are now “getting it” and are ready to act. Capital markets are demanding a double bottom line, and companies are reducing risk and volatility when they pursue efficiency and sustainability. Everyone is laser-focused on this, and we are often a first call to help.


What are the top reasons your clients seek energy efficiency and/or renewable energy improvements?

 

BD: Energy efficiency and clean energy improvements improve the bottom line. Our clients see these projects as opportunities to lower operating costs, drive cash flow and improve performance as an investor. Secondly, energy efficiency and sustainability strategies are differentiators: They give our clients greater access to capital markets. Without these improvements, their capital market options may be limited.


Why do you choose to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank as an Authorized Contractor with the CLEER program?

 

BD: What our clients love about us is that we understand both energy and capital markets. When a client brings us an energy need, we will find a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration their tax structure, leasing structure, balance sheet, cash flow and broader investment profile in order to customize a solution for them. Green Bank and CLEER give us another tool for clients in the County. We will use PACE, energy service agreements (ESAs), operating leases, equipment leases, shared savings agreements, capital reserves and even our own balance sheet to make the financing fit. The more tools we have, the better we can structure the financing. We’re excited to include the Green Bank in our toolbox.


How is CLEER a resource for your clients?

 

BD: When working on a project in the County, we identify CLEER and Montgomery County Green Bank as one part of a possible financing strategy. Using CLEER to optimize the financing package for our projects is valuable to us and to our clients. It’s tremendous to be working globally while also partnering locally to do more in our home County—whether supporting the Green Bank, partnering with Bethesda Green, or engaging as a member in the local business community—it’s all a win-win for us.


February 2020

Green Partners: RIFE International

Green Partners: RIFE International — Award Winning Energy Solutions

Welcome to our Green Partners series, highlighting our partners in the community that help make Montgomery County Green Bank a success.

We talked with Kwabena Osei-Sarpong, CEO of RIFE International, to learn about its latest successes and why they are proud to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank.


Tell us about RIFE International and your work there.

 

Kwabena Osei-Sarpong [KOS]: RIFE International, LLC “RIFE” is an award winning full-service Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Development and Construction service firm with expertise in high-profile, complex projects for government, institutional, and private sector clients.

We are a Green certified business which operates in the Mid-Atlantic U.S with other operations in emerging markets overseas. RIFE was named 2019 Leadership in Customer Satisfaction by Johnson Controls for our work in energy efficiency, a 2019 Top Energy Efficient Service Provider by Pepco & EmPOWER Maryland, has been an Export MD Grant recipient by Department of Commerce, and was selected as the 2015 Montgomery County Small Business of the Year.

As CEO, I set our vision with input from our leadership and lead our team to service our client needs through the use of our hallmark “Problem Solving and Partnering” approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy project implementation. My ultimate job is to make sure we exceed our clients’ expectations, that my team members are happy and growing in their careers, and that our is organization meeting and exceeding the reasons for our existence.


Why do you choose to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank as an Authorized Contractor with the CLEER program?

 

KOS: The CLEER program, with its diverse financial capacity and flexible terms with no upfront costs, allows our clients to start projects in relation to capital expenditure in a way that fits their financial structure and business without impacting cash flow negatively. The 30% non-energy related loan also complements our ability to provide the best service and value for money for our clients.


What’s something exciting you’re working on now?

 

KOS: We have been lucky to work on several unique and exciting projects from hotels to museums, educational institutions to hospitals, and office buildings to data centers. The most exciting project were working on at the moment is providing energy efficient lighting solutions at the Maryland Zoo and the Ashburton Water Treatment Plant. These are both very challenging yet exciting projects.


What are the top reasons your clients seek energy efficiency and/or renewable energy improvements?

 

KOS: The top three reasons include:

1. Savings in utility bills and operational costs
2. Environmental and health considerations
3. Increased efficiencies in facility operations and property values

Our clients often seek energy efficiency improvements due to cost and maintenance issues as a result of aging equipment or technology. In addition to the benefit of reducing operational expenses, clients also use the reduction in carbon emissions to show the public they are environmentally aware and demonstrate their efforts to positively impact climate change and reverse global warming.

What are the key decisions your clients make when moving a project forward?

 

KOS: The key decisions our clients make include understanding the value of the project and selecting a contractor with the requisite knowledge and experience to execute. We must demonstrate that we understand the impact the project may have on the client’s operations and work on a joint plan to minimize interruptions – “this is always our focus as a contractor”. Finally, we must understand and convey the added value of the financing or supplemental funding and ensuring it’s not impacting their cash flows. Resolving these issues eventually lead to clients moving projects forward with us.


What benefits of CLEER do you most promote with your clients?

 

KOS: The flexibility of the CLEER program is one of its strongest benefits. From the ability to finance portions of the project that don’t address energy efficiency (but meet other needs) to not requiring cash up-front, the program is a great way to make projects happen within the financial constraints of our customers.


March 2020

Meet Stephen Morel: MC Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer

Meet Stephen Morel: MC Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer

The MC Green Bank team is growing! We are thrilled to welcome Stephen Morel as the Bank’s inaugural Chief Investment Officer. As CIO, Stephen will be ramping up investing activities for the Bank as we enter a new phase of increased clean energy and energy efficiency activities. From an expansion of existing offerings to new product offerings, Stephen will be growing the Bank’s capabilities to address the County’s sustainability objectives. Hear from Stephen on joining the Bank:


Hello all. I am extremely excited to join the Green Bank team!  I have had a strong interest in green banks since their early days and am impressed by the billions of dollars they have catalyzed for clean energy and climate objectives across the world. As the first county-level green bank, I am particularly excited to play a role in the demonstration value of the MC Green Bank throughout the U.S. and the world.

Before joining the Bank, I ran a consulting company focused on project and corporate finance. And prior to that, I was with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. In each of these roles, my interest has been how to leverage public funds for unlocking market barriers and unleashing private sector investment. I believe there are quite a few like-minded individuals and businesses throughout Montgomery County, and it makes me very enthusiastic to match their investment goals with the County’s climate and environmental objectives.

One of my favorite non-work activities is to travel with my wife. We have been lucky to travel to 40 countries and 31 U.S. states. My hope is to eventually reach 100 countries and all US states!  In the meantime, I look forward to meeting all contractors, developers, businesses, and individuals throughout the County interested in Green Bank activities. I hope to work together to grow our portfolio and elevate the success of the Bank.

Stephen Morel
Email: smorel@mcgreenbank.org
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-morel-b650a225

Green Partners: LewLew, Inc.

Green Partners: LewLew, Inc. — Delivering Savings in New Ways

Welcome to our Green Partners series, highlighting our partners in the community that help make Montgomery County Green Bank a success.

We talked with Bob Harmon – VP of Busienss Development from LewLew, Inc., to learn about its latest successes and why they are proud to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank.


Tell us about LewLew and your work there.

Bob Harmon [BH]: LewLew is an Energy Service Company that provides a broad array of energy efficiency solutions including LED lighting, Smart Controls, HVAC upgrades, Solar, Energy Storage, Demand Response, Benchmarking, and Energy Star certification for facilities as an Energy Star certified partner. LewLew is also a designated Ambassador to the Montgomery County Benchmarking program. In addition, we do have a subsidiary called Save Water that deals with water conservation such as leak detection and other water saving devssqssices. LewLew is one of very few firms that are registered and certified to install these upgrades in all five Maryland utility service territories, and the ONLY company that provides lifetime warranties on LED fixtures that we install. I also take the lead role with the Green Bank’s CLEER Program and other innovative financing programs that LewLew provides.


What are the key decisions your clients make when moving a project forward?

 

BH: The question never seems to be “if” but “when” they want to proceed with the efficiency improvement. Many clients find that the improvements are more urgent than originally thought because of (1) tenant demands, (2) ongoing investments made into the Empower Maryland program, (3) available operational capital improvement budget or (4) long term infrastructure upgrade plans. What remains is for the client to decide on a comprehensive assessment of the facility and then decide on the funding/financing program. Once these decisions are made, then it’s a matter of scoping the most efficient technologies and design features and getting the work scheduled for installation.


What’s something exciting you’re working on now?

 

BH: I am most excited to be working on LewLew’s 2020 growth program. As carefully planned by Lewis Buchanan, our founder and CEO. this is going to be a demarcation year in the firm’s expansion and development. We are increasing our staff capacity and marketing efforts to serve our clients across all energy spectrums. For example, I will be working with Jenn Williams our Chief Operating Officer to expand our regional and national client base. In addition, LewLew recently opened an office in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2020, LewLew will focus on expanding our footprint throughout the Caribbean region providing our comprehensive solutions built around an accountable process-driven approach, such as solar storage, lighting, smart controls, HVAC and water conservation.

Project Highlight: at Mount Rainer Nature/Recreation Center (video)


Project Highlight: At Mount Rainer Nature/Recreation Center

 


Why do you choose to partner with the Montgomery County Green Bank as an Authorized Contractor with the CLEER program?

 

BH: LewLew is very familiar with the functions of the green bank programs in others states such as New York and Michigan so we were very excited to be associated with the Montgomery County Green Bank from its inception. The age of LEDs is increasingly bringing new lighting opportunities. The biggest obstacle we always saw to implementation was always funding.
With the Montgomery County Green Bank as an option, we are pleased that we can bring more people to the table. LewLew remains convinced that the Green Bank is well-positioned to help customers with their highest unmet energy improvement needs. These are the medium -sized businesses with peak demand of 60kW and up; these firms are not eligible for Pepco’s on-bill 24 months no interest financing.


How is CLEER a resource for your clients?

 

BH: LewLew’s ongoing interest in supporting the Montgomery County Green Bank is to make all long-term financing options available to our prospective clients. The unstated and often primary reason for declines in our energy upgrade proposals is the property owners lack of knowledge the many funding opportunities now available in the energy space along with the huge incentives from the utilities across Maryland. LewLew recognized this issue and now discusses all available financing options, including the Green Bank’s CLEER program, in the first stage of our initial prospective client contact. We review CLEER as part of our effort and explain that its inclusion can expand their firm’s future borrowing capacity and enhance their financial credit rating.


January 2020