New ways to fund energy efficiency for a cleaner planet
Earlier this year, the Virginia legislature made a great move for our state by enabling the energy efficiency financing mechanism known as PACE financing. PACE is an innovative program that makes it cost-effective for commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in their buildings. PACE is funded using private capital and is repaid through a voluntary special assessment on their property tax bill. There are many benefits to this new program such as 100% project financing, increased cash flow, long term loans (up to 20 years) and ability to finance a wide variety of measures such as HVAC, lighting, hot water systems, roof, solar, geothermal and even water saving devices. In addition, localities across Virginia will also see economic development benefits through creation of new jobs in construction and manufacturing and ability to showcase high performing buildings to prospective tenants and buyers.
Through the decrease in energy usage in buildings, programs like PACE financing not only help increase cash flow for private enterprises, but also reduce carbon emissions that contribute to changes in climate. We view PACE as a small step in mitigating these changes, which are felt with recurrent flooding in our region as well as increased frequency of damaging "super storms" throughout the Eastern seaboard. Despite the highly politicized debates around climate change, the wide support we garnered for our PACE initiative - on both sides of the aisle - demonstrates political differences can be transcended to find common ground. I applaud the Virginia legislature for moving PACE forward, and hope that this can be a bi-partisan springboard for developing long-term solutions that will make our region more resilient and protected.
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