Don't Slash Residential Clean Energy Programs
One of the best ways to reduce our communities' dependence on dirty-energy technologies is to give people the ability to simply use less energy in our homes -- less for light, heat, hot water, cooking, and all the things we do every day.
Sounds simple, right? But the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) recently killed PACE, the national energy-efficient homes program that let homeowners to pay a little extra property tax in exchange for energy upgrades that make their homes more efficient and keep their electricity and heating costs down.
PACE doesn't just help individual homeowners keep their utility bills under control; it reduces our communities' dependence on dirty energy like the coal-burning power plants that put soot into our air and mercury into our water.
When families have the opportunity to live in energy-efficient homes, we all move one step closer to our goal of clean air and water.
Given the many benefits of PACE, FHFA's opposition to these programs is counter to the best interests of the nation. PACE is a robust vehicle for the achievement of public interest goals of job creation, energy independence, and environmental protection. Its substantial proliferation in a relatively short period of time attests to its efficacy and PACE's potential role in fueling a clean energy economy. FHFA should focus on finding ways that PACE can function effectively within its framework rather than working against the programs outright.
The FHFA should also move forward with adopting the underwriting standards outlined in H.R. 2599 and Alternative 3 of FHFA's proposed rule on PACE. These standards provide the type of risk reduction strategy needed to ensure that PACE benefits all residential mortgage stakeholders without creating undue burdens. Hundreds of communities in the 27 states that have passed PACE-enabling legislation are counting on FHFA to reinstate these programs at a time when we need them most.