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Will You Set the PACE?

Jan 24

Written by:
1/24/2012 10:33 AM  RssIcon

Since its beginnings in 2008, 26 states have developed property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing programs. Many commercial and residential property owners are already benefiting from this opportunity to make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their properties and pay for them over a period of years with the savings that result from lower energy bills.

Are you taking advantage of PACE?

The article Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE), from the Alliance to Save Energy, provides a map of the states that have PACE programs as well as an explanation of how the programs work. Basically, after applying for and being accepted into a PACE program, you receive a loan to make your improvements that you then pay off over time in small amounts by an assessment added to your property taxes. In addition to the obvious advantage of allowing energy efficiency improvements to be made with no upfront cost, another plus is that if the property is sold five years later, the new property owner who will be benefiting from the lower energy bills will pay the remainder of the cost of the improvements. Makes sense, right?

Unfortunately, in July 2011, federal mortgage programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slowed the PACE for homeowners. Because PACE lenders are paid back first in the case of default, these agencies see PACE as increasing their risk. So though most commercial PACE programs are continuing and expanding, residential PACE programs have come to screeching halt until this issue can be worked out.

There is currently a bill in the House of Representatives that has the support of 51 representatives so far that would force federal agencies to permit PACE programs for residential properties. A similar bill is expected to be proposed in the Senate soon.

We urge you to support PACE. Here are three things you can do now:

  1. Find out if there is a commercial PACE program offered in your area. If there is, take advantage of it to upgrade your HVAC systems and install Events2HVAC to start saving money.
  2. Write a letter to your local representative to encourage them to support PACE legislation. PACENow, an organization focused on expanding PACE programs has a sample letter on their website that you can send to your representative.
  3. Follow PACENow or the Alliance to Save Energy to stay informed about PACE developments.

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