By Derek Newberry, Advocacy Fellow
We're making strides in growing our PACE Coalition, and getting support for Commercial PACE Financing in the House. Our goal is to introduce PACE financing to a number of Representatives on the TUE Committee, so that a PACE Financing bill can be passed when the session resumes in January.
This morning, the USGBC MA staff and some of our friends from MassDevelopment met with Representative Brodeur at the State House. We explained the benefits and the straightforward structure of PACE Financing to Rep. Brodeur. As the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, his support is key for us to advance this bill in the House. Brodeur was enthusiastic about PACE and pledged his support, so we are excited to continue partnering with him as we move this bill forward.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing is a tool that incentivizes commercial property owners to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, by tying the project's cost to the property through a long-term voluntary tax assessment. Therefore, property owners can save money with more energy efficient buildings–and they don't have to worry about getting a full return on their investment before selling the property, because they only pay for the energy efficiency upgrade as long as they own the building. When the building is sold, the project will be paid for–and the energy savings will be reaped–by the next owner.
PACE has already been successfully implemented in a number of states, notably California and Connecticut, and is set up for success in Massachusetts. A unique legislative proposition, Commercial PACE Financing would be overwhelmingly beneficial for the state. It does not face opposition from environmental organizations or the business community. By incentivizing energy efficiency projects, PACE would create jobs in green building industry (the fastest growing part of the real estate sector). Neither the state nor taxpayers need to spend any money to enable this financing tool, and MassDevelopment is already established as the funding clearing-house for these projects.
Commercial PACE is simply a financing mechanism that needs to be enabled by the legislature. After a bill is passed to support PACE, municipalities in the state will be able to arrange, in conjunction with MassDevelopment, for commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency projects through property tax assessments.
Last session, the Senate voted for PACE Financing Bill S. 1774, but the bill has not yet been introduced in the House. While we continue to meet with representatives over the next month, we will grow the PACE Coalition, getting both the business community and environmental organizations to voice their support for this innovative energy efficiency financing tool.
If your business or organization would like to join our efforts advocating for PACE, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned to this issue, as we're expecting major PACE bill updates in the next two months!
Visit our Advocacy page for a more thorough explanation of PACE Financing.
A couple photos of today's meeting at the State House:
Advocacy Committee Volunteer Bill Tobin explains how PACE Financing would bring jobs to Massachusetts.
Representative Brodeur and Grey Lee, USGBC MA Executive Director.
Below: our Advocacy Team with Rep. Frank Smizik talking about PACE on a similar occasion recently