The Regional C-PACE Toolkit has been released by the Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA). This resource was developed to assist local governments and stakeholders in encouraging the development and growth of C-PACE programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.
MAPA will be hosting a free webinar discussing the C-PACE Toolkit on Wed., July 25, from 12-1 p.m. ET. This session will provide a brief yet comprehensive overview of the array of resources and information available in the MAPA Regional C-PACE Toolkit.
What is C-PACE?
C-PACE, short for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a financing tool for commercial, industrial, agricultural, nonprofit and multifamily buildings (with five or more dwelling units) for projects aimed at improving energy and water efficiency and for the installation of renewable energy systems. To access C-PACE financing, a project must be located in a county or municipality that has implemented a C-PACE program within a state that has passed PACE-enabling legislation.
In the Mid-Atlantic, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia each have passed C-PACE enabling legislation, and there are active programs in several localities, including Arlington, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. The toolkit reports that while the DC-PACE program has grown steadily in recent years, those in Maryland and Virginia have developed more slowly than expected by local stakeholders. In Virginia, Arlington is the only jurisdiction that has passed a C-PACE-enabling ordinance since the 2015 statewide enactment of enabling legislation. Nationwide, 33 states have passed enabling legislation, though only 22 have active local C-PACE programs.
Third-party verification ensures integrity
In addition to being located in a C-PACE-enabled jurisdiction, projects in many jurisdictions must undergo rigorous standards for energy efficiency to qualify for financing. However, some municipalities do not mandate performance standards, and others lack them completely. Without such requirements, C-PACE programs are left vulnerable to underperformance and therefore to poor consumer response. MAPA recognizes this risk.
In the toolkit, MAPA recommends that local C-PACE programs require building owners to obtain one of two types of independent energy audits that meet industry standards, either from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) or from the Investor Confidence Project (ICP). Both types of audits become more complex depending on the scope of the retrofit, though the ICP standard goes one step further.
ICP offers an Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification that indicates that a project has met the ICP Protocols, which include industry standard measurement and verification processes. For ICP projects, technical review is conducted by independent ICP Quality Assurance Assessors and certification is then issued by GBCI.
Since planning and executing energy efficiency projects—including those seeking C-PACE financing—can lack consistency, evaluating projects can be challenging. IREE certification helps to ensure projects follow industry best practices, accepted standards and robust engineering. In turn, project owners are provided with more reliable savings projections, reduced performance risk and increased confidence in predicted financial returns on investments.