On Friday, July 20, members of the VAEEC Steering Committee participated as project team members at the 2011 State Energy Program grant award meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to accelerate commercial energy efficiency retrofits. They met with representatives from Virginia and Maryland businesses, local governments, and energy offices to discuss the obstacles and opportunities in the energy efficiency market.
Meeting attendees were briefed on the VAEEC’s efforts to revise our state’s current Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation. For PACE to work effectively, legislation needs to be amended to ensure PACE liens are senior to mortgages on the property. Lien seniority allows for third party capital to participate in the process, instead of relying solely on municipalities to fund these improvements. Addressing this political hurdle would require outreach and education with stakeholder groups to overcome.
Many of the stakeholders wanted to participate in a convening the largest commercial real estate owners in the NOVA area to begin a discussion on what it would take for them to invest in energy efficiency. As part of the SEP grant award, the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative will work with team members to hold these meetings in September – one for the general commercial market and one for the MUSH market. The VAEEC is particularly interested in learning more about the potential uptake for PACE loans from commercial property owners.