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Council approves green retrofitting programs

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The San Diego City Council on April 8 unanimously approved two new programs to help local homeowners improve their energy and water efficiency.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy programs will allow to homeowners to gradually pay for renovations to their energy and water systems through an assessment on their property tax bill

“These PACE programs will result in more homes being retrofitted for energy- and water-efficiency upgrades,” said Council President Todd Gloria. “San Diegans will have a new option to finance renovations to their homes, so they make sense fiscally and environmentally.”

The council voted to let the Western Riverside Coalition of Governments offer its Home Energy Renovation Opportunity PACE program in San Diego, which was developed in 2012 and operated by the San Diego-based company Renovate America.

In addition, the Council voted to expand the Figtree PACE program, a San Diego-based program created in conjunction with the California Enterprise Development Authority, which previously provided similar funding for water and energy renovations on commercial properties.

Expansion of the PACE programs had been slowed because of new federal guidelines barring Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from buying mortgages that were encumbered with PACE liens. But last September, Sacramento created the PACE Loss Reserve Program to address those concerns. The reserve is to be used to make mortgage lenders whole for any direct losses incurred due to the existence of a PACE lien on a property during a foreclosure or forced sale.

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