Treetops Resort: The Jewel Of Gaylord Michigan

Plug Smart Guides Top Michigan Resort on Leveraging Energy Efficiency Financing of HVAC and Lighting Equipment

Dynamic energy solutions provider Plug Smart recently teamed up with Treetops Resort in beautiful Gaylord Michigan to map out unique funding mechanisms for how the resort could best achieve simultaneous building upgrade goals. The Treetops Resort, a premier Northern Michigan destination for golfers, skiers, and vacationers alike, sought to upgrade facilities that would make robust improvements to mechanical systems and building equipment to reduce energy costs.

Treetops Resort takes tremendous pride in its top-notch facilities to ensure it provides the best experience for its guests. Resort leadership is also consistently looking for ways to be more energy efficient and build resiliency into their infrastructure. Making important facility upgrades are typically capital-intensive, overcoming that hurdle is where the Plug Smart team came in. They brought expertise in Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) funding to guide the mechanical upgrades and thus freed up Gaylord Michigan's available investments and expected energy efficiency savings to go towards additional upgrades to continue to delight Treetops' guests.

C-PACE is a flexible financing tool that enables building owners to make energy upgrades to their buildings without requiring out-of-pocket costs. Funds made available for C-PACE projects are from a state-enabled program that provides private, PACE-specific capital firms to finance improvements that specifically enhance energy efficiency via special county tax assessment, which can last up to 30 years. In addition to designing and implementing most of the project scope, Plug Smart also coordinated activities between Michigan's PACE program management group, Lean & Green Michigan, and C-PACE Loan Group as the financiers of the Treetops Resort upgrades. For building owners, this C-PACE funding offers long-term, low fixed rate, and non-recourse, financing without any upfront capital requirements.

Prior to project design, the Plug Smart team put together the energy master plan (EMP) for Treetops, highlighting what mechanical systems were eligible to be upgraded using C-PACE funding and which improvement measures should be prioritized. The EMP allowed the Treetops Resort to outline a transformative and cost-effective construction plan.   

In the end, the updates would have required nearly $2.8 million of investment, but using C-PACE will allow these upgrades to be installed with no upfront out-of-pocket costs. After construction is complete, the resort will see annual savings totaling over $250,000, creating positive cash flow, and allowing for additional investment in the resort.

Treetops' General Manager, Barry Owens, knew they had to make upgrades to their mechanical systems as well as the visible aspects of the buildings, but looking at the total wish list, they didn't think it would all be possible at once. Plug Smart dug into the possibilities and unveiled the entire picture of what the Resort could accomplish, helping to prioritize the most impactful energy-saving areas of the buildings. Owens noted that, "We welcome guests from all over, whether golfers in the summer, skiers in the winter, or families coming to enjoy the beauty of the area all year round. We wanted to be able to bring some new and exciting upgrades to these customer-facing facilities, but we couldn't ignore the need for some behind-the-scenes updates to our energy systems. Thanks to Plug Smart's ability to adhere to our core priorities and creatively identify upgrades that pay for themselves and require no up-front capital, the Treetops Resort will be able to do it all."

As a part of the EMP, the Treetops Resort is implementing at least a dozen different upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems and efficient building retrofits that the Plug Smart Team identified as C-PACE-eligible including replacing the boiler plants, roof, refrigeration units, and upgrading the building automation system (BAS), HVAC equipment, and interior and exterior lighting.

The project is in the final design and preconstruction phase, and Plug Smart expects to be able to substantially complete the project prior to next year's golf season.

Plug Smart team members continue to provide innovative energy-saving solutions for commercial clients, including in the hospitality business. If your facility needs energy efficiency upgrades to its systems but doesn't know how to fund them, get in touch with us today at

Source: Plug Smart

About Plug Smart

Plug Smart is an energy services company that specializes in developing large-scale energy projects that include performance-based energy savings guarantees with a proven track record of developing multi-million dollar, complex energy projects.

Plug Smart
350 E. 1st Avenue, Suite 210 , #Suite 210
Columbus, Ohio

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