Baltimore, MD. – In July, the MD-PACE program facilitated the installation of new energy-efficiency improvements to the Manna Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. In doing so Manna Bible became the first religious institution to use C-PACE financing for repairs in the MD-PACE program. MD-PACE is happy to make C-PACE available to a variety of commercial properties, be they multi-use, manufacturing, non-profit, or as in this case, the site of a religious institution. We applaud the work that went into the closing of this project, as Pastor Michael A. Gaines Sr. broke new ground in the territory of MD-PACE through this project. We also wish to congratulate the contractors, Thompson Creek Window Company and AJ Michaels Commercial, who are responsible for the work done on the property, and also to the capital provider, Greenworks Lending, for its commitment in this project.


The impetus behind this C-PACE project was the discomfort of the Manna Bible congregation during extremes of heat and cold. The building that Manna Bible Baptist Church occupies is several decades old and needed a more efficient building envelope and a new climate-control system. The Manna Bible Baptist Church leadership decided on C-PACE as a way to finance these capital intensive improvements and defer repayment over the life of the installed measures. This method of financing also allows for the repayment of the loan to be defrayed by the utility savings of the installed improvements, increasing liquidity and enabling cash flow. The cost of the envelope improvements to Manna Bible Baptist Church and upgrades to the HVAC system, including a new chiller and boiler, equaled a total of $180,000.00 inclusive of contractor fees, program costs, and interest. The return on this investment is projected to avoid $185,000.00 of utility costs over the useful life of the improvements, and also enables the installation to occur immediately, without requiring any down payment. Manna Bible Baptist Church is the first religious institution to be financed by the specialty C-PACE capital provider Greenworks Lending in the MD-PACE program. Said Michael Billingsley, Business Development Director (Mid-Atlantic) at Greenworks Lending, “This project is a clear demonstration that C-PACE can provide an affordable financing alternative for nonprofits and houses of worship, like Manna Bible Baptist Church, to improve the energy efficiency of their property and allow them to focus on fulfilling their mission of serving the local community in Baltimore, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Two contractors were responsible for the multi-part execution of this project: Thompson Creek Window Company and AJ Michaels Commercial. Thompson Creek is an expert contractor for building envelopes, and serves much of Maryland, northern Virginia, and Washington D.C. The greater energy-efficiency of their improvements to Manna Bible Baptist Church’s envelope will enable the building to spend considerably less on their utility bill by reducing temperature exchange between the interior and exterior. The other contractor, AJ Michaels Commercial, will provide installation and retrofitting of Manna Bible Baptist Church’s high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, further lowering energy costs. AJ Michaels is a highly rated local contractor with operations throughout Maryland and serves both commercial and residential customers. All of the improvements made to Manna Bible Baptist Church were eligible for C-PACE, and 100% of hard and soft costs in the project scope were covered via upfront financing.


Religious institutions experience several unusual challenges for financing energy-efficiency improvements. First, unlike office structures, industrial properties, or multi-residential buildings, religious institutions do not have convenient access to large capital, and do not have robust incomes like a commercial business. Secondly, the buildings in which religious services are held are commonly either repurposed from another use or were built decades ago. Not only does this mean they were often built with lower efficiency standards, but they also are in the process of deterioration, further reducing efficiency. Finally, the heating and cooling requirements of religious buildings are uncommonly high because of the number of people that they must host on certain days and at certain times, and usually in a large, single room that must be made comfortable for the congregation. The need for outside capital, length of repayment, and both the extent and the immediacy of retrofitting are all important factors for religious institutions; this makes C-PACE financing a highly effective option for energy-efficiency improvements. With C-PACE, not only is there an extended payback period, but it also does not require any money down or collateral to access immediate improvements.


The MD-PACE program encourages all commercial property owners with interest in saving money through C-PACE or investing in high-efficiency improvements to contact


About the MD-PACE Program

The MD-PACE program is sponsored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), a corporate instrumentality of the state of Maryland which advances the adoption of clean energy, energy efficiency products, services and technologies. MCEC leverages private capital to help homeowners, businesses, and government entities reduce energy costs. The MD-PACE program offers C-PACE financing to commercial property owners statewide.