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New PACE home retrofit program starts up

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Scaling up plans to go green on the home energy system justs got easier this week. A new county PACE program homeowners can sign up for to use a loan to make a home retrofit affordable started this week.

Yesterday, county and city officials encouraged San Diegans to take the step to secure a loan. Lowering home energy and water use in the future lowers the bills homeowners pay. “This program makes it easier for many consumers to save money and go green, opening the door to more rooftop solar panels, more energy-efficient windows and other improvements,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors.

PACE loan users repay their loan using property tax assessments. The repayment can last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.

Running a green home is less expensive once a homeowner makes the investment in a retrofit financed usinga PACE loan. Homeowners do not have to hold off on additions of energy efficient heating and cooling systems, or, solar panels. Both count for a PACE loan. Home improvement budgets short on money for energy saving windows or insulation, with a PACE loan, can fund the start of a green home retrofit project.

San DIegans who take advatange of the opportunity to go green not only stop wasting energy and money. The lower the San Diego pollution that spoils the local beauty and makes clean living that lasts a challenge. “The PACE program is a win-win for the consumers and our environment. Homeowners will have a wide range of energy-saving products available to them, including solar panels, and be able to pay for them on their property tax bill,” Supervisor Dave Roberts said.

The green home industry has been a regular growth industry in San DIego for decades. The government officials count on the industry to lead hiring during the recovery.

“Our environment benefits by our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and energy consumption. Not only that, we are helping to jumpstart an important industry to create jobs in San Diego County.”

Loans are now available in the City of San Diego, EL Cajon, Escondido, and outlying county areas. The county board expanded the PACE program to homeowners in April. City councilmembers gave city homeowners the opportunity soon after the county board.

Decisons to give up on expensive energy efficiency upgrades do not make the best budget sense when a PACE loan is available. County and city funding builds up the stock of green retrofit homes. “PACE programs make sense fiscally and environmentally,” said San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria. “These programs will result in more homes being retrofitted for energy and water efficiency upgrades, and San Diegans now have a new option to finance renovations to their homes.” San Diego does not have plans to stop the area wide green upgrades.

This week's loan program start added local areas to the first year home improvement areas. NEar 5 million dollars in energy saving projects have already been funded by Property Assessed Clean Energy financing loans. HOmeowners took advantage of the loans in Carlsbad, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Vista.

THis is a Center Line Policy Alert.

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