A couple of years ago, we reported on efforts to fund green-technology updates to commercial and residential properties (“Green for Green,” by Paul Hagey, July 2012). At the time, Ygrene Energy Fund had recently launched Clean Energy Sacramento, its first program in California to offer property-assessed clean energy financing for Sacramento-based contractors and property owners.
Since then, that pilot project has expanded to include Sacramento, Yolo and Butte counties. According to Ygrene CEO Stacey Lawson, the project has received applications totalling $104 million in value. She says Ygrene has approved $60 million in loans for energy upgrades in the area and estimates that installed upgrades will result in the reduction of 40,000 metric tons of CO2 over their lifetimes.
“That would be the equivalent of providing electricity to 5,200 additional homes for a year or 90,000 barrels of oil,” Lawson says. “The impact on the environment and economy has been quite large.” She estimates the efforts have also created more than 250 jobs.
In partnership with Golden State Finance Authority, Ygrene Energy Fund launched Ygrene Works, which will expand the regional efforts into a statewide PACE program, making residential and commercial property owners in any California community that adopts a resolution eligible for funding.
“This allows us to expand off the successes of Clean Energy Sacramento and a number of other districts, allowing other communities to get a program up and running with zero risk and in a short time frame,” Lawson says.
Through its programs, Ygrene trains and certifies local contractors on its efficiency upgrade program. Because loans are paid back as part of an owner’s property tax, payments are tax deductible and transfer to new owners in the event the property is sold.
The market for cutting-edge, sustainable homes has traditionally been small, primarily pursued by industry experts and boutique developers who can both appreciate and afford them. But that’s about to change.
In California, lighting systems in commercial buildings account for an average of 35 to 40 percent of a facility’s total electrical use. That makes lighting systems the greatest target for potential savings as the state aims to achieve zero net energy in commercial buildings by 2030. Here’s what you need to know to get compliant.
Depending on the type of business you operate, lighting can account for 20 to 50 percent of electricity consumption. This means significant cost savings can be achieved with energy-efficiency upgrades, and due to continually improving equipment, lighting usually provides the highest return on investment of major updates.
Long before it was widely accepted, Sacramento attorney Mike Polis bought his first electric vehicle. He got started with a Toyota Prius, later upgraded to a Nissan Leaf and now drives a white Chevy Volt. On average, he saves more than $3,500 a year over his gas-powered counterparts, he can use the HOV lane as a single occupant and he charges his car for free at work.