Providence Public Library Embarks on $1.6 Million in Energy Efficiency Renovations Through the Rhode Island C-PACE Program

The recordbreaking, full renovation of the library is the largest C-PACE project in Rhode Island to date.

Providence, RIRhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB) announced today that the Providence Public Library (PPL) has received an investment of $1.6 million in financing from Greenworks Lending to fund comprehensive energy improvements to its historic building through the Bank’s Rhode Island C-PACE program.

The library, a 143-year-old non-profit located at 150 Empire Street, has embarked upon the state’s largest-ever library renovation. While the 83,000-square foot redevelopment project will transform the library’s 1950s wing, auditorium and special collection areas to provide 21st century library services, the PPL is also focused on 21st century energy efficiency. Energy infrasctructure elements of the project include the installation of energy-efficient windows and building envelope improvements; updated rooftop units for heating, ventilation and air conditioning; an energy recovery unit; and computer-room air conditioning.

“The renovations to the Providence Public Library will serve city residents well into the future while yielding significant savings for the library,” said Jeffrey Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “The Infrastructure Bank, through its C-PACE program, is excited about helping communities, nonprofits and private businesses save money while making needed long-term energy efficient investments through low-cost financing programs like C-PACE.”

“This is exactly the kind of project we envisioned when creating the C-PACE program at the Infrastructure Bank,” said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “This much-needed renovation of the Providence Public Library, including energy efficiency and safety upgrades, will create jobs and enhance the quality of life here in the Ocean State.”

“Public libraries are some of our most valuable institutions,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I’m thrilled to hear that the improvements being made to the Providence Public Library will also improve the structure’s sustainability and resiliency while increasing its ability to provide quality programming to our residents.”

The construction elements in this project have been selected or designed to exceed current energy codes. The Providence Public Library has engaged BOND, one of the Northeast’s leading building, civil, utility and energy construction firms, as construction manager. The project architect is designLAB Architects of Boston, the same firm that served as the architect for PPL’s 1900 building renovation completed in January 2013.

“The renovation of the PPL is a significant undertaking to ensure its prosperity and use as a public space and resource for years to come,” stated Aaron Peterman, CEO of the Providence Public Library. “Energy efficiency plays a large part of that picture so it is logical for the organization to utilize C-PACE funding from Greenworks as part of our capital mix. As responsible stewards of the PPLs assets we sought not only to enhance and protect the library, but to do so in a manner that is fiscally responsible.”

“Through thoughtful design, BOND is not only able to develop the community space the PPL desires, but we are able to maximize their operational efficiencies,” stated Dan Tamos, Regional Manager of BOND’s Providence office. “The Rhode Island C-PACE program facilitates our design by empowering property owners to make sustainable investments as opposed to value-engineering out items that are better long-term solutions.”

Greenworks Lending, a national provider of commercial PACE financing, funded the investment, which totaled $1.6 million. Additional funding sources include both a construction and bridge loan from Washington Trust, an Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) grant, and $15.5 million of New Markets Tax Credits from Building America CDE and Consortium America LLC with equity provided by Chase Community Equity LLC combined with a capital campaign.

“The Providence Library project is an excellent example of the breadth and scope of energy efficiency projects that can be financed through C-PACE,” stated Jessica Bailey, CEO and co-founder of Greenworks Lending. “Our initial projects in Rhode Island featured solar, but two of our more recent closings, including the Providence Public Library, feature efficiency measures. We are optimistic that this signifies property owners now realize the C-PACE program’s full potential for both solar and efficiency.”

The Rhode Island C-PACE program allows the library to take a significant piece of the project cost and finance it over the projected useful life of the equipment installed. Beyond the financing, there are operational savings month after month with efficient infrastructure.

About the Providence Public Library

PPL is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1875, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily through private funding sources, including its own PPL Foundation. PPL provides services and resources to more than 152,000 visitors annually. The library also serves as the Statewide Reference Resource Center holding unique collections and resources.

About Rhode Island C-PACE

Rhode Island C-PACE enables owners of commercial and industrial buildings to finance up to 100 percent of eligible energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and environmental health and safety improvements. Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates with repayment terms that can span up to 25 years. For more information, visit

About Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is Rhode Island’s central hub for financing infrastructure improvements for municipalities, businesses, and homeowners. RIIB leverages capital in a revolving fund to offer innovative financing for an array of infrastructure-based projects including water and wastewater, road and bridge, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and brownfield remediation. These quality of life projects improve the state’s infrastructure, create jobs, promote economic development, and enhance the environment. For more information, visit

About Greenworks Lending

Led by several of the C-PACE industry’s founding policy developers, Greenworks Lending is a private capital provider uniquely dedicated to funding commercial property owner investment in renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects through state-legislated C-PACE programs on a national level. Greenworks provides C-PACE financing so building owners can access long-term, lower-cost capital to make smart, cost-saving improvements to existing and/or newly constructed commercial buildings. Through its lending, Greenworks supports and partners with states, counties, and municipalities interested in promoting economic development, creating jobs, and reducing pollution.

About Building America CDE

Since it was formed in 2010, Building America has allocated $125.5 million of New Markets Tax Credits to 16 projects across the US. As an affiliate of parent company AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), Building America works to create economic empowerment and opportunity, bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities. More information is available on the Building America website,