MRA Update: Setting the PACE

Depending on where you live, you may know all about the PACE program, or perhaps, nothing at all. PACE is an acronym that stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. As the leading industry organization, the Metal Roofing Alliance has launched an effort to educate both contractors and consumers about the benefits of the PACE program and how it can make a dramatic impact in the home improvement market.

What is PACE?
At its core, PACE is a bond program designed to finance energy-efficient retrofits to residential and commercial buildings, including metal roofs. PACE bonds can be issued by municipal financing districts after adopting a bond plan. Then, homeowners who are adding energy efficient improvements to their homes are granted loans through PACE programs. The beauty of the program is homeowners are able to repay the loans, with interest, over 20 years via an annual assessment added to their property tax bill.

Therefore, PACE loans address two of the common hurdles to metal roofing installation: the significant up-front cost and the possibility that those costs will not be recovered if the property is sold. Under the PACE plan, there is no up-front cost to the property owner — they can install now and pay later. And, if the property is sold prior to the end of the repayment period, the new owner takes over the remaining special tax payments as part of the property’s annual tax bill.

This new program is a great alternative to traditional financing and is particularly helpful with the current credit crunch we’re facing. Of course, consumers will also see lower utility bills and all the other benefits of a metal roof. In some cases, the annual energy savings can be more than the yearly cost to the homeowner.

What’s the catch?
So, you may be wondering — What’s the catch? Why haven’t I heard more about this fantastic new financing option? Well, PACE is not a national program. Therefore, it requires states to create enabling legislation and local governments (cities, counties or municipalities) to create their own PACE program.

The following states have already passed PACE enabling legislation: California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. In addition, legislation is pending in Arizona and New York and Florida and Hawaii have existing ability to launch PACE programs.

In states where PACE is already available, contractors should educate consumers about the program’s many benefits. MRA is currently developing materials that will explain the program to consumers. Members of the alliance can access these tools in the contractor area of the MRA website (www.metalroofing.com) beginning in April.

The challenge for our industry is to encourage the remaining states to pass PACE bond programs that include provisions for metal roofing. Model legislation programs exist; however, some do not specifically include the ability for homeowners to finance energy-efficient metal roofing. At MRA, we recommend that the industry utilize the California PACE legislation as the model, as it includes language that allows all metal roofing products that are CA Title 24 compliant.

Become a PACE advocate
By becoming PACE advocates, contractors and manufacturers can make PACE a nationwide program. As members of local communities, contractors have influence over area legislation, especially because they have the ability to create new jobs, an important asset in the current economic climate. There are several ways contractors can encourage the adoption of PACE in their areas, including a direct appeal to legislators, or by encouraging their local building and roofing associations to educate the local governments about PACE.

The program is very attractive to local governments because it offers numerous benefits. First and foremost, PACE provides a new revenue source through interest charges the local government can charge on the loans. In addition, these loans promote energy efficiency, reduce energy costs for homeowners and businesses and stimulate the local economy through job creation. What lawmaker could argue with that?

In order to assist its members to make their case to legislators, the MRA is developing a presentation that can be used to educate local officials about PACE. “The PACE program has tremendous potential to dramatically increase metal’s share of the residential re-roofing market,” says MRA executive director Tom Black. “We believe the program will result in a marked increase in sales for manufacturers, suppliers and contractors.”

For more information on PACE, visit www.pacenow.org or the MRA site, www.metalroofing.com. MR

Learn more
For more information, please visit the contractor section of our website: www.metalroofing.com or call MRA’s contractor team at 410-534-6900.

Bill Hippard is the president of the MRA and vice president of sales at Precoat Metals.

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