Bainbridge grocery store greens up with help of energy bonds

towncountryBAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash.—When remodeling is complete next year, Bainbridge Island’s Town & Country Market won’t just be bigger and better, it will be greener.

It also will be the nation’s first private-sector project to green up using Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds through a Green Community Initiative.

(QEBC Application Here)

Town & Country Market secured a lower-interest construction loan for the energy upgrades thanks to $1.15 million in bonds issued March 6 by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission as part of Kitsap County’s Green Community Initiative.

“This financing was a key part of our decision-making, and made it possible for the remodel to add far greater energy efficiency than we had hoped,” said Bill Weymer, CEO of Town & Country Markets, which owns the Bainbridge store and four others around the Puget Sound.

“We estimate the store will use 41 percent less energy per square foot than it does today,” he added. “The improvements should pay for themselves in just seven to 10 years.”

A main-street mainstay since the mid-1950s, Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island is far from energy-efficient by today’s standards. Insulation, lighting, refrigeration, heating/cooling and other systems will all be transformed using the energy financing. Remodeling is now under way, with completion expected in spring 2015.

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) are allocated to local cities and counties nationwide for projects that conserve energy or water, generate alternative energy or cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2013, the Housing Finance Commission and Kitsap County formed a Green Community Initiative under the QECB legislation. The county screens applications from local projects, while the Housing Finance Commission facilitates the financing, using QECBs and other tools.

The Commission, a self-funding state agency focused on affordable housing, has financed energy efficiency and renewable energy since 2009 at the direction of the state Legislature.

“Our partnership with Kitsap County draws private investment to meet local goals in the most flexible and innovative way, especially when it comes to QECBs,” Avi Jacobson, senior sustainability coordinator for the Commission, said.

“We’re proud to be the first in the country to use a Green Community program for private activity.”