Business & Real Estate

Energy retrofit program, launched in Sacramento, goes statewide

A novel program to encourage property owners to make their buildings more energy efficient, launched two years ago in Sacramento, is going statewide.

Ygrene Energy Fund, a Santa Rosa company that finances green-energy programs, said Wednesday that it is partnering with the Golden State Finance Authority to bring its Ygrene Works financing program to the rest of California. The Golden State authority, which just changed its name from the California Home Finance Authority, is a public agency that provides financial assistance to homebuyers.

The program was launched in Sacramento and Miami two years ago with the support of the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit green-tech organization founded by British billionaire Richard Branson.

It enables property owners to install solar panels, double-pane windows and other energy-saving upgrades through an unusual financing arrangement that requires approval from local taxing authorities. If approved for the program, known as Property Assessed Clean Energy ( PACE), property owners borrow the funds from Ygrene and repay the debt over 30 years via low-interest loans applied to their property taxes. If they sell the property, the debt is taken over by the purchaser. Ygrene also connects the property owners with a network of contractors, vetted by Ygrene, to perform the retrofit work.

“We are excited to partner with Ygrene to bring the Ygrene Works PACE financing program to additional cities and counties across the state of California,” said Greg Norton, executive director of the Golden State authority, in a prepared statement.

“We look forward to continuing to lead the efficiency revolution with communities across the state ” said Stacey Lawson, president and chief executive of Ygrene.

Since it was approved by the Sacramento City Council, the program has already spread to Sacramento County, as well as Yolo and Butte counties. According to Ygrene, the program has financed $57 million worth of retrofit projects in the region.

For instance, the Metro Center office park on Gateway Oaks Drive in Natomas undertook $3 million worth of improvements, including a new chiller, cooling tower and water treatment system. The result: $140,000 a year in savings, or 27 percent, according to Ygrene.

The program also has been used by homeowners in Sacramento, according to Ygrene.

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Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.