Nearly three-fourths of U.S. states have authorized local governments to use voluntary special assessments on commercial properties to finance energy improvements that boost economic development, create jobs, increase property values and advance energy goals. Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing allows building owners to repay the borrowed capital — from private or public sources — over time using their property as security.
Berkeley Lab is supporting the Department of Energy’s Commercial PACE Working Group by developing a series of C-PACE issue briefs. The second brief in this series, Practices for Demonstrating Energy Savings from Commercial PACE Projects, looks at common practices for demonstrating energy savings to support state and local governments that sponsor C-PACE programs and want to track their energy impacts. This brief reviews:
- The value proposition and trade-offs of conducting energy impact assessments for C-PACE programs;
- Methods to quantify energy savings impacts from energy efficiency building improvements; and
- Available resources and tools to support energy impact assessments.
C-PACE programs may benefit from energy impact assessments for many reasons, including:
- Validating the public benefits of the programs
- Demonstrating that C-PACE can deliver participant benefits
- Illustrating program impacts on public policy goals
- Generating data to help improve program performance
Many C-PACE programs are collecting data on project energy savings impacts, and these data can be leveraged to further support decision making and program implementation. Potential drawbacks to energy impact assessments may include added cost and burdens on property owners (e.g., the need to collect building energy consumption data). Where these burdens are considerable, they might slow program uptake. State and local governments can balance the benefits of energy impact assessments with the range of costs and accuracy inherent to available assessment methodologies.
Additionally, depending on the policy context in the state or local government, a C-PACE program may be able to leverage existing efforts (e.g., building energy benchmarking programs) to reduce impact assessment costs, align with building owner practices and expectations, and efficiently assess program impact.