As Advocacy Chair of the USGBC Massachusetts I have had the privilege to work with the chapter and a broad coalition of other organizations around PACE legislation for commercial buildings. We are very excited to see that the energy bill passed by the MA legislature includes provisions for PACE. This is one portion of a larger bill that focuses on procurement of renewable energy from wind and other renewable sources. Governor Baker signed the bill today, taking another step toward a clean energy future for the Commonwealth.
PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is a financing mechanism which allows property owners to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Project funding is made available as a voluntary property tax assessment, not a loan. The PACE program would move the typical appetite for energy efficiency and renewables projects by commercial property owners from only sub-5 year paybacks, to making attractive projects with up to 20-year payback terms. This will fundamentally transform the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets in Massachusetts.
On a personal level, I am so proud of everyone’s hard work and am reminded of the power of our legislative process and the ability of all citizens to provoke change. In the past two years, I have learned a lot about the legislative process, advocating for bills, and working to build consensus. I am eagerly awaiting the start of the next legislative session when we can make even more strides towards a financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable future.