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Property Assessed Clean Energy: A Guide for Commercial Buildings


In today's world, where sustainability is more than a buzzword; it’s a directive, you may constantly find yourself looking for ways to help your buildings align with government regulations

Enter Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, a game-changer for those aiming to make energy-efficient upgrades without the upfront financial burden. This guide will illuminate the path to understanding PACE financing, highlighting its benefits to commercial properties.

What is PACE Financing?

At its core, Property Assessed Clean Energy is a financing mechanism designed to help commercial, industrial, and residential property owners cover the costs of energy-efficient upgrades. 

Unlike traditional financing options, PACE loans are tied to the property, not the property owner, and are repaid through an assessment of the property's tax bill. The concept of PACE financing isn't new; it has evolved over the years, offering a unique solution to the challenge of upfront investment in green renovations.

The history of PACE programs traces back over a decade, as initiatives to promote energy efficiency and sustainability gained momentum. PACE stands out from traditional loans by allowing for longer repayment terms, often aligned with the lifespan of the installed improvements. This key difference makes PACE attractive for property owners and aligns with broader environmental goals by encouraging sustainable upgrades.

How PACE Financing Works

The PACE financing process is a collaborative effort involving property owners, local governments, lenders, and PACE program administrators. Here's how it works: once a property is deemed eligible, the owner can finance energy-saving upgrades through PACE. The amount financed is then repaid via an additional assessment on the property's annual tax bill. Local governments play a crucial role by enabling these assessments and ensuring the program's availability.

This relationship ensures that property owners can implement significant improvements without the immediate financial strain, lenders have security in the property assessment, and local governments foster an environment of sustainability within their jurisdictions.

Benefits of PACE Financing for Commercial Buildings

The advantages of PACE financing extend well beyond just energy and cost savings. Investing in sustainable upgrades can significantly enhance your building's value. Projects funded through PACE can lead to decreased utility costs, a smaller carbon footprint, and an alignment with future government climate laws (i.e., no fines).

Furthermore, the fixed, long-term financing terms provided by PACE align well with the lifespan of most improvements, ensuring that the financial benefits are realized over time and not upfront. This aspect of PACE financing is particularly beneficial for commercial properties, where long-term planning and investment are key to success.

Eligible Projects for PACE Financing

PACE financing covers many projects to enhance energy efficiency and sustainability in commercial buildings. This includes investments in solar panels, HVAC system upgrades, energy-efficient lighting, and smart boiler controls. 

Smart boiler controls are an innovative technology that optimizes boiler operation for peak efficiency, adjusts heating based on real-time data, and significantly reduces energy consumption and costs. Implementing smart boiler controls aligns with the objectives of PACE financing by enhancing energy efficiency and offering commercial property owners the opportunity to modernize their heating systems. 

The impact of such technology is profound, offering not just improved energy management and cost savings but also contributing to a reduced carbon footprint. As with other PACE-eligible projects, smart boiler controls can transform a necessary aspect of building management into a strategic asset for sustainability and efficiency.

How to Get Started with PACE Financing

Determining if your commercial property is eligible for PACE financing is the first step toward unlocking these benefits. Start by researching PACE programs available in your area and understanding the application process. It's also crucial to identify which upgrades will provide the best return on investment and align with PACE eligibility criteria.

Working with experienced contractors who understand the nuances of PACE-funded projects can also streamline the process, ensuring that your upgrades are implemented efficiently and effectively.

Here are some links to help get you started: 

  1. PACE Nation: An extensive resource for finding PACE financing programs across the United States. It offers a searchable database of PACE programs, making it easier for property owners to find and connect with local PACE providers.
  2. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: Offers a detailed overview of PACE financing, its benefits, and how it works, including a section on starting PACE for residential and commercial properties.
  3. Energy Star: Managed by the EPA, Energy Star provides tools and resources for energy efficiency projects, including financing options like PACE. Their website can help identify projects that might qualify for PACE financing and how to achieve Energy Star certification for your property.
  4. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): A comprehensive source for information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States, including PACE financing programs. It’s an excellent tool for understanding the specific incentives available in your state.

Property Assessed Clean Energy financing offers a robust solution for commercial property owners looking to make sustainable upgrades without the immediate financial burden. By understanding how PACE works, its benefits, and how to get started, you can take a significant step toward improving your property's performance and value and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Ready to revolutionize your commercial property's energy efficiency with smart boiler controls? Discover how PACE financing can empower your upgrade journey—book a consultation to explore your options today.