The biggest hurdle facing commercial property owners looking to tap into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects is cost. While there are some well-intentioned commercial property owners that would like to step up when it comes to the environment, it keeps coming down the bottom line.
In order to help the owners access affordable financing for green solutions, a new program has been introduced by Mayor Byron W. Brown and Councilmember Joel P. Feroleto. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is the first of its kind, and will allow commercial property owners to access low-cost financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects from a State pre-approved list of capital lenders.
Mayor Brown said, “The City is taking aggressive action to combat the consequences of global climate change. That is why my Administration is committed to working with the State and the Common Council to promote programs that provide commercial property owners affordable financing for renewable energy projects. Commercial property owners who demonstrate their commitment to clean-energy will be able to access the funding that expedites the transition to a cleaner and greener community. I want to thank Councilmember Feroleto for working with my Administration in advancing this important legislation for our City and our environment.”
Low-cost PACE financing can fund renewable energy installations as part of ground-up construction projects.
Councilmember Feroleto said, “Smart policies like PACE financing can unlock the City of Buffalo’s green energy potential, while also creating well-paying jobs. By making energy conservation more attractive and financially attainable for commercial property owners, we are further positioning Buffalo to be a renewable energy leader.”
After the City adopts the PACE local law, the low cost financing will come from the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a local development corporation and a New York State nonprofit that aims to get property owners on track with readily available financing that was previously costly to obtain.
In order to qualify for the low-cost financing available through PACE a commercial property must meet the following criteria:
- properties cannot be owned by an individual or single proprietor;
- properties cannot be owned by a governmental entity;
- residential properties of five units or more.
Low-cost PACE financing can be implemented with ground-up construction projects, making the developments greener than ever. The overarching goal is to alleviate the City of Buffalo’s carbon footprint, which is part of Mayor Brown’s goal of Buffalo becoming a Climate Refuge City.
Qualified properties must also participate in an energy audit to determine whether the projects actually achieves the desired energy efficiency. EIC will report the outcomes of these energy audits as well as the project status to the City.
The City has already received a Bronze Certification from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities Program, which is considered a decent start, but in order to get to Silver and Gold, there’s going to have to be buy-in from property owners. This initiative is also a great incentive for property owners to invest in the short term, in order to recoup energy costs in the longterm.
Qualification details can be found here.
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel