In a recent meeting with a group actively involved in advancing sustainability, a question about how Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) supports a reduction in the use of carbon based fuel was asked. I decided to answer using a personal example.
“The result is higher efficiency at less than half the cost!”
I learned of a new product that extracts heat from roof mounted panels warmed by the sun (or ambient temperature) instead of coils embedded in the earth like the typical geo-thermal system. The technology promised a renewable source of energy with a much lower up front cost.
Based on what little I know about the product it sounds like something that would benefit me. If some due diligence proved it worked, it would make sense to install the technology as soon as possible in order to reduce my dependence on the carbon based fuel my existing technology requires!
What stops me from doing something right now?
Making the switch to energy efficiency is not easy even when energy savings are significant! What prevents me from taking immediate action is the same thing that stops most people from embracing energy efficiency – it’s that up front cost! If I have to pay for the system and the installation I need to know how long it will take to repay those costs! If I don’t have the cash and have to secure a loan, how long will it take to repay the loan?
Another consideration is what if I decide to move? Will I have to pay off the loan? Will I have wasted money because I didn’t use the product long enough to get a return on my initial investment?
When faced with those financial questions, that are not always easy to answer, people are more inclined to do nothing! Energy efficiency, from both a societal and personal perspective, gets left to some fuzzy point in the distant future. More carbon based fuels are wasted!
What if we could completely do away with those financial questions?
- What if I could finance the energy technology without using any of my cash or resorting to a personal loan?
- What if I could repay the financing using the money saved from the reduced energy use the technology makes possible?
- What if the financing stayed with the property if I decided to move?
Would those factors make the decision-making process easier? Would I be more inclined to become energy efficient TODAY?
The answer is an unqualified YES!
If the financial barriers to embracing energy efficiency are overcome I can embrace energy efficiency today and begin saving energy personally and as a contribution to society right now. I would be more inclined to take action immediately and not at some ambiguous point in the future!
Removing the financial barriers to energy efficiency is possible through the use of Property Assessed Clean Energy (video). PACE throws the old decision-making process out the window and paves the way for easy and immediate use of energy efficient technology. Here’s how:
- Instead of having to come up with the money to install energy efficient technologies PACE provides low cost and long term financing so energy savings can begin TODAY!
- The payment for the technology is funded out of the money saved from less energy being used. Choosing energy efficiency no longer results in increased expenses – it actually reduces expenses in most cases!
- If I decide to move I don’t have to worry about paying off a loan because the payment for the technology goes with the home just as an assessment for a community road paving project would. I don’t have to take into consideration how long I plan to stay in the home; the upgrades will continue to benefit all subsequent owners!
In short the whole decision-making process for becoming energy efficiency is changed with the use of PACE! Reducing the use of carbon-based fuels is possible today with zero up front costs.
While residential PACE is not an option in many states, the reasons cited in my personal example apply to the commercial, industrial and multi-family application of PACE. The energy efficiency decision making process has changed and payback periods and length of property ownership are no longer part of that process.
If the world is going to become less dependent upon carbon based fuels, the ease of converting to energy efficient, or renewable energy options, must be easy. PACE is making the conversion easy because it supports comprehensive change. The upfront cost of energy efficiency would formerly only allow small incremental projects which wasted valuable time and energy. By changing the decision-making process it is now easy to embrace as much change as possible in order to generate the maximum amount of energy savings that will be used to pay for the upgrade.
Commercial, multifamily and industrial facilities no longer have to wait to upgrade to energy efficiency once PACE is approved. PACE is making the switch to energy efficiency easy and will pave the way towards a more energy efficient future with less dependence upon carbon based fuels!!