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Rick Barnett

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing has grown since its 2008 start as a solar financing tool, to include energy efficiency projects. PACE allows local government to administer efficiency loans using private capital and the jurisdiction’s property tax system. Local taxing agencies assume new responsibilities, in between private lenders and private property owners.

Also since 2008, the benefits of energy efficiency have been documented in numerous reports from a wide range of sources. For example, the often-mentioned "Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the US Economy" (July, 2009, McKinsey & Company) concludes: "Energy efficiency offers a vast, low-cost energy resource for the U.S. economy, but only if the nation can craft a comprehensive and innovative approach to unlock it". Efficiency is cast as a valuable resource, and a solution to "energy affordability, energy security, and greenhouse gas reduction". A summary of the McKinsey Report is available through the US Energy Information Agency: bebidas energeticas y viagra

A more specific report about efficiency financing options was released by The Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group ("US Building Energy Retrofits", March, 2012). The Rockefeller-DB report states that "more than 3.3 million cumulative job years of employment could be created". can get levitra nhs

And in May, 2013, United Technologies (serving the global aerospace and building systems industries, ) produced "Unlocking American Efficiency". They concluded that, with existing technology and design practices, efficiency could generate "$65 billion dollars per year in savings, net of investment costs, for American households, businesses and government". The UTC report mentions PACE, but also notes that "utility efficiency programs deliver electricity demand reductions at an average cost of 5 cents per KWH, significantly below the cost of electricity supply in those areas".

While PACE has found widespread acceptance, most PACE loans are for commercial properties. PACENow ( ) is a clearinghouse for PACE programs across the country. Last summer, the national organization Carbon War Room announced a partnership with Ygrene Energy Fund to launch "Clean Energy Green Corridor", a PACE program in South Florida. And the Texas Association of Manufacturers recently announced their support for PACE through a public-private coalition.

In 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rejected the PACE mechanism, and effectively eliminated PACE from the residential sector. Without a financing tool, the documented potential of residential efficiency cannot be unlocked. Responding to the growing need for more efficiency, the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee invited testimony on 6/28/12, about "non-federal" financing options for "energy efficient building retrofits".

The Committee heard 6 industry leaders describe their respective approaches to efficiency financing. The 6 presentations are here:

At the Senate Hearing, David Sundstrom described the well-known PACE program in Sonoma County, California. The Sonoma program is administered by the County tax department, and payments are made as an assessment added to regular property taxes. Homeowners borrow money from the County to pay for clean energy projects, including efficiency. The PACE loan is secured by the value of the property through a mechanism that affects the property’s mortgage. The mortgage interface is a key element of the FHFA controversy.

Another program presented at the Senate Hearing provides efficiency financing more directly than PACE. Shari Borrelli of the United Illuminating Company (a Connecticut utility) described the company’s "Small Business Energy Advantage Program". Her 4 page testimony can be found at

The United Illuminating Company energy retrofit program is operated by a private utility. The program does not include transactions between homeowners and public agencies: it simply connects building contractors to the company’s energy customers, and uses in-house, on-bill financing. Repayment is secured by the customer’s need for energy, rather than a complex, mortgage-based mechanism.

Based on their experience providing energy services, utilities can be expected to deliver more efficiency per dollar invested, and create even greater opportunities for efficiency businesses and investors. Utility financing also eliminates the risk, however assessed, of the stalled PACE option. With their ability to tie efficiency loans to the meter rather than the house or owner, utilities have the key to unlocking a vast economic opportunity.

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