Earlier this week I posted about the PACE financing programs being put on hold due to complaints from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This has caused a lot of uproar in green building circles. Here are some stories that will give you an idea of what others think about the hold.
In his post for the Pike Research blog, Levin Nook discusses the contradiction between the federal government pushing energy efficiency and a federal entity (the Federal Housing Finance Agency – FHFA) putting a stop to a nationwide energy efficiency project.
“Even though the FHFA is a federal agency, theoretically devoted to the national good, “national energy independence, green jobs and greenhouse gas reduction with minimal public investment” are not on the to-do list for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
In this article on the Watch Sonoma County website, contractors weigh in on the hold.
“It’s just a disaster,” said Craig Thompson, vice president of the Redwood Empire Redmodelers Association. Thompson said that a dozen of the association’s 75 members have invested thousands of dollars each to gain certification in energy retrofit work since the program started in March 2009.
Make sure to read through the comments. Some readers feel that the Obama administration or the Sonoma County government is responsible for the halt.
The San Francisco Business Times also covered this story. San Francisco recently got their program off the ground and now it is on hold while the issue is resolved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though there is much give and take between communities and PACE funding managers and the government. In this article Cisco Devries of Renewable Funding discusses his experience.
“DOE and the White House have informed us that the senior lien – regardless of how structured, accelerated, or insured – is not acceptable to the regulators,” Devries said.
Although the government has said its peace, PACE funding has some strong supporters including Senator Henry Waxman, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee.
I can only hope that this issue gets resolved and the ruling is in favor of PACE programs. While I understand that the mortgage companies are concerned with having a superior lien, adding more expense to a property in a down market, and other issues I do feel that PACE funding programs provide a great opportunity for homeowners to help reduce their energy use.