Originally published in Interiors & Sources


Why You Need to Know About PACE

Learn how large projects with long paybacks can be made more feasible

By Eric Woodroof, Ph.D., CEM, CRM


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If your state does not have PACE enabled, visit for a wealth of resources to help you get it passed in your state. They include webinars, training, templates, and educational resources such as case studies. These helpful documents and best practices are updated by many parties, including financing companies that have good incentive to enable more projects with reduced risk and long-term investment.

Overall, the process is a win-win. Financing companies have the political and economic connections and leverage to push legislation through state governments, which may seem like a daunting task for an individual facility manager.

Eric A. Woodroof, Ph.D., is the Chairman of the Board for the Certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) program and he has been a board member of the Certified Energy Manager (CEM) Program since 1999. His clients include government agencies, airports, utilities, cities, universities and foreign governments. Private clients include IBM, Pepsi, GM, Verizon, Hertz, Visteon, JP Morgan-Chase, and Lockheed Martin.

As with performance contracts, the measurement of savings verifies progress for all parties. By using the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) or guidelines from ASHRAE or ASTM, the performance of the building before and after retrofits can be confirmed in a way that is fair to all involved.

Of course, there will be some bumps in the road. Similar to performance contracts, sometimes projects can go bad due to unforeseen circumstances such as bankruptcies. However, most projects should meet financial goals and go fine.

Considering that most of U.S. buildings were constructed prior to 1990, there are many that are limited by their design and infrastructure to take advantage of newer, more efficient technologies. At these sites, the costs to enable a facility to accept new technologies may lengthen a payback beyond 5 years, which could kill the project. PACE’s long-term approach allows the owner to tackle lengthy paybacks and get projects implemented.

By mitigating an owner’s financial hurdles, PACE helps buildings over the long term, and we all need to be thinking long-term in regards to energy, financial resources, and the environment.

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