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California Gets Serious About PACE as a Statewide Program

On the eve of Earth Day, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation to establish a statewide program for the popular retrofit loan option known as PACE.

The legislation introduced by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) sets up the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Reserve Program, which will enable business and homeowners in California to make energy improvements while taking advantage of lower financing costs.

Under SB 77, property owners will be able to help fund retrofits by using bonds or loans that are paid through assessments added to their property tax bill. The new law establishes a state-financed reserve, through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, of up to $30 million from the Renewable Resources Trust Fund to implement the PACE Reserve Program.

Schwarzenegger announced the signing of the legislation amid fanfare at the headquarters of Serious Materials in Sunnyvale. He and Pavley toured the firm that makes high performance, super-insulated windows and other advanced green building materials, which have been used in prominent retrofit projects as well as new construction.

Serious Materials has been in the news for reviving two shuttered window factories and for its innovative solution to upgrade the windows in the Empire State Building, without altering the profile of the landmark building or disposing of the existing glass. It also captured headlines when it was awarded a contract to work with the nation's largest weatherization agency.

“Serious Materials is another company joining a long list of companies in California that are proving what I have always said: What is good for the environment is also good for the economy,” Schwarzenegger said. "We want to keep these companies and these jobs here in California. That is why I signed SB 77 to help build our green economy, create thousands of jobs and create a cleaner environment by making energy efficient investments easier to make.”

“Governor Schwarzenegger is a great friend of the environment,” said Serious Materials CEO Kevin Surace. “He also knows energy efficiency is a triple-win for everyone."

The past week also saw action on energy efficiency legislation in Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez,  (D-NJ), introduced a bill to provide tax incentives for the construction of green buildings. The Green Building Tax Credit would offer a refundable 30 percent tax credit for the construction of buildings that are energy efficient and "location efficient," meaning that the site is close to public transportation and easily reached on foot.

Copyrighted image courtesy of Serious Materials.

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