Business for a Better World: How IGC is turning commercial real estate green

  • The first C-PACE deal closed in the state of Illinois is an industrial flex facility in Wood Dale.

    The first C-PACE deal closed in the state of Illinois is an industrial flex facility in Wood Dale. Photo courtesy of Inland Green Capital

  • AnnaMaria Kowalik

    AnnaMaria Kowalik

 
Updated 4/7/2022 1:08 PM

Inland Green Capital LLC

2901 Butterfield Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

 

(630) 586-6058

Website: www.inlandgreencapital.com

Industry: Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing

An interview with AnnaMaria Kowalik, Senior Vice President -- Director Business Development.

Q: Describe your company.

A: Inland Green Capital LLC is an environmental finance and investment company that can provide capital for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy projects. IGC is a leader in advancing clean energy and sustainability adoption in the real estate sector across the United States. Clients benefit from our collective expertise gathered over decades of real estate finance activity and experience gained from closing hundreds of C-PACE deals.

IGC works with commercial property owners to finance clean energy improvements that enhance sustainability of their properties, lowering both operating expenses and their cost of capital.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: Yes, a position recently opened at IGC for a senior associate, and we continue to consider future growth opportunities. IGC is also enhancing marketing initiatives through advertisements and participation in webinars and podcasts, to further promote IGC and the many benefits of the C-PACE program. C-PACE remains relatively new, and with environmental, social and governance at the forefront of company business models, it's a great opportunity for us to boost promotion efforts throughout the commercial real estate industry.

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Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: Continuing to educate property owners and municipalities on the C-PACE product and program as the financial tool of choice in getting energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and resiliency projects, and/or components thereof, of any retrofit or new construction projects to the finish line.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: Recapitalizing hotel and hospitality operational costs with the financing of clean energy projects and the retroactive financing of recently completed projects. The "greening" of industrial facilities and multifamily buildings have also been very popular over the last year -- despite the pandemic.

Q: Does climate change affect how your company does business?

A: Very much so. IGC can help commercial property owners improve their assets by providing capital to help make them more energy efficient, thereby reducing their carbon footprint within their community. It's all connected. Also, climate change issues including flooding, earthquakes and even potable water safety, can fall under the "resiliency" component of our financing tool, potentially having a great impact on the issue.

Q: What does your company do to reduce the effects of climate change?

A: When one considers that commercial buildings across the U.S. account for over 35% of our electrical consumption and almost 16% of greenhouse gas emissions, IGC believes that by providing capital to property owners to reduce their energy consumption and emissions, it helps to improve the building experience and the environment, one project at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: Is your company minority-owned? Woman-owned?

A: IGC is part of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc., which is comprised of a group of separate, legal entities, the first of which was founded over 50 years ago by four former Chicago Public School teachers and is now one of the nation's largest commercial real estate and finance organizations. Women have held executive and board positions at Inland companies throughout its extensive history.

I am proud to be a part of Inland's Women's Initiative Network, a structured program for the various Inland member companies, that provides women with access to career education tools, mentoring opportunities, network building and career advice.

Q: What does your company do regarding DE&I?

A: Inland recently rolled out an engagement survey to solicit feedback from employees to create a baseline in order to enhance or improve training, development and leadership skills of employees. Inland also continues to encourage DE&I through open lines of communication and training, which includes DE&I and unconscious bias training.

Q: Does your company donate time or money to any philanthropic causes? If so, what causes?

A: Absolutely. Once a year, employees are provided time off to take part in volunteer causes of our selection or together as a group participate in a dedicated project. Inland also has match programs for contributions employees personally make throughout the year. Local homeless assistance associations, food pantries, health-related support organizations and others are among the typical beneficiaries of our combined efforts.

Q: Does your company do anything else to make your community better?

A: Inland has been a recipient of the Better Business Bureau Ethics Award three times, annually supports The Wellness House, actively participates in the local Chamber of Commerce as well as The Chicago Association of Realtors and The Illinois Association of Realtors, and Dan Goodwin, principal and chairman of Inland founded New Directions Housing Corporation, a not-for-profit developer of affordable housing for low-income residents throughout Illinois.

Q: What do you do to make your business a good place to work for your employees?

A: Inland is very employee-centric and inclusive, taking into account the individual work-life balance situation and providing flexibility or accommodations when feasible. Prior to the pandemic, Inland hosted annual employee appreciation activities, health fairs, discounted event and product opportunities, service and merit recognitions, and generous benefit programs to highlight employee appreciation.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: We are part of the solution, improving properties one project at a time.

Q: What is one interesting fact about your company that most people may not know?

A: Many of us at IGC have had different roles at other Inland companies prior to the formation of Inland Green Capital in 2012. IGC is built on these relationships, extensive industry experience and access to various Inland resources, which allows us to provide our clients with distinct and unparalleled service.

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