Hurricane Harvey brought record rainfall and flooding to the Houston-Galveston region. The impacts of the storm and ensuing flooding included loss of lives, homes and livelihoods. In response, researchers from the region with expertise in hydrology, climate science, engineering, coastal resiliency, energy, community development and urban planning came together to strategize on solutions.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, an innovative tool that enables property owners to make investments in clean energy, is taking off across the state of Texas. With Travis County as the catalyst, additional communities have created PACE districts, and the City of Houston is the most recent to start its program.
The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) has been involved with the development of PACE for Texas since early on in the process. HARC was a stakeholder in the technical standards development and program design for the standardization of the PACE program, titled PACE in a BOX. We also played a key role in bringing stakeholders to the table and implementing the City of Houston PACE District.
Nationally, 750 clean energy projects have been financed by PACE, with investments totaling $250 million. With the growing adoption of PACE financing, a key measure of its success will be energy and water savings and air pollutant emission reductions over time. As the Texas program rolls out, HARC is partnering with the Texas PACE Authority (TPA), the state’s non-profit third party administrator for PACE programs, to track these energy and water savings and emission reductions for our state’s projects.
The Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation is providing a grant award to HARC to develop and implement a state-wide data management tool in coordination with the TPA to measure and verify PACE-financed projects’ energy and water savings and air pollutant emission reduction outcomes. The management tool will also help to evaluate program outcomes and identify opportunities for ongoing improvement. This work will result in the uniform collection, analysis, and reporting of information on energy efficiency, air pollutant emission reductions, water conservation and economic PACE project data for local, state, and federal use. In particular, such robust data collection will better equip the State of Texas to highlight progress and make reports for federal compliance purposes.
Our partners at the TPA are committed to the successful implementation of the PACE program throughout Texas. We are working together to facilitate adoption of PACE financing and increased investment in clean and energy efficient solutions.