Monday, September 12, 2011

USGBC Lends Support to get PACE Programs Moving

Bryan Howard
Legislative Director
U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC has thrown its support behind the latest legislation effort to revive Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE.

H.R. 2599, the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), directs the Federal entities responsible for mortgage lending to adopt underwriting standards that are consistent with the PACE guidelines issued by DOE. This bill would also ensure that no Federal agency can discriminate against communities implementing or participating in a PACE program, offering critical protection and security to home owners, businesses, and local governments. The bill currently has support in the House of Representatives with more than 20 bi-partisan co-sponsors. It also has the endorsements of numerous companies such as Dow Chemical and municipal organizations like ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA.

For those familiar with the history of PACE, more than 22 states and the District of Columbia embraced the widespread benefits of job creation, utility savings for home and business owners, and increased clean energy and energy efficiency, but due to federal restrictions issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last year, PACE programs around the country have largely been halted. USGBC has a track record of supporting PACE programs. Last year more than 350 member organizations of USGBC supported legislative action to undo the regulation of FHFA.

In a letter to the authors of the bill, Jason Hartke, Vice President of National Policy for USGBC hailed the benefits of passing this legislation. “PACE has tremendous potential to create tens of thousands of local jobs, cut energy bills, reduce mortgage default risk, and dramatically reduce energy consumption by spurring investment in clean energy improvements.”

Now it's up to Congress to act to reinvigorate these programs.


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