On June 1st, NYSERDA released new Commercial PACE Guidelines that make it easier for property owners and the energy professionals that service them to qualify projects for Energize NY PACE financing. The new guidelines introduce three changes in particular that expand the opportunities for clean energy upgrades by making PACE more readily available.
Now, PACE can be used to finance projects in gut renovations and additions. This greatly expands the market for PACE in New York, enabling property owners to incorporate large scale energy retrofits into properties undergoing wholesale renovations. This suits the type of adaptive reuse projects that spur revitalization.
In the past, NYSERDA determined the cost effectiveness of an energy efficiency improvement through a Savings-to-Investment Ratio calculation. Yet, an SIR test fails to account for the environmental and other benefits of a clean energy project beyond energy savings. NYSERDA has now introduced a more comprehensive Cost-Benefit Ratio test that considers the owner’s energy cost savings and the environmental benefits to the community. NYSERDA’s new guidelines also make it easier to get projects financed by listing “Pre-Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements” that are already deemed cost effective.
The process to become a PACE Energy Auditor has also been streamlined. NYSERDA has approved certain entities such as; the Association of Energy Engineers; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; the Building Performance Institute; and the New York State Engineering and Architectural Licensing Boards to be Commercial PACE certifiers for energy auditors. The entire list of certifiers can be found in Section III of the Guidelines. NYSERDA considers companies with specific licenses and accreditations from these certifiers as approved to perform PACE Energy Audits. Now, a project that has a qualified energy assessment conducted by a certified energy auditor can get approved for Energize NY PACE financing with or without qualifying for NYSERDA or utility incentives.