Picking up the PACE in Iowa
How do you stay warm in the cold Iowa winter? Pick up the PACE — Property Assessed Clean Energy that is!
That is just what the USGBC Iowa Chapter is doing, leading the charge on PACE as its main advocacy effort.
Cecilia Shutters and I certainly stayed warm keeping up with the USGBC Iowa chapter this month. We joined them for Design Day at the State Capitol (one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in America), meetings with legislators and an evening PACE education event with legislators and Charlene Heydinger of Keeping PACE in Texas.
Charlene provided information and insights on best practices for adoption of PACE, specifically her experience in getting it passed in Texas and on the coalition building and stakeholder buy-in that is needed. The bill drafting sounded like it was the easy part of passage!
PACE in Texas means property owners can make investments in energy and water efficiency that will save them money in the long run without having to deal with barriers like high initial investment and access to capital. "PACE provides the property owner with upfront financing for 100 percent of the cost of a qualified improvement, and allows the property owner to amortize the debt over the useful life of the improvement. The improvements will usually reduce utility costs more than enough to cover repayment obligations; therefore, the improvements should prove to be cash-flow positive upon completion of the work."
Charlene presented to a room full of legislators, students and professionals who had many questions about what PACE might look like in Iowa. Though PACE is still in the most preliminary concept stage in the state, the chapter is making sure the homework is being done and the idea is getting circulated to a wide range of Iowa stakeholders.
And as if all of this activity weren’t enough, I am happy to report that Twitter is alive and well for Scott Bowman, chair of the chapter's advocacy committee, who now officially has a handle: @ScottBLEGO. Be sure to follow him!
As the saying goes, “Iowa is 75 percent vowels, 100 percent awesome,” and after a couple of days with the green building advocates in the state, we couldn’t agree more!