A key source of information to determine project savings is the energy audit submitted with the application. But energy audits come in all formats and use differing assumptions (e.g., escalation rate for energy, opportunity costs, etc.), which complicates the review process for the program administrator.
An excellent way for the PACE program to deal with such variation is to have its own analysis template (an Excel spreadsheet, for example) that applicants (or contractors on their behalf) must fill out and submit with their applications (see Attachment D. Energy and Cost Savings Analysis Template for an example). By having a uniform project summary format (analysis template) that is the same for every applicant and uses a realistic, consistent set of assumptions, the program administrator can more quickly review the individual measure savings and total estimated energy/cost savings and cost-effectiveness of the project.
The commercial PACE program further benefits from having access to someone with sufficient energy engineering knowledge/experience who can review projects that are more complex (i.e., ones that have a lot of measures or equipment/materials that are not as common). This person could be a local government staff member in the same or another department (e.g., Planning Department or Department of Environment), or a consultant from an energy engineering services firm brought in on an as-needed basis.
11.3 Property Title Search
Ownership of commercial properties takes various forms. These include a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, trust/trustees/living trust, individual(s), joint tenants, and common property. Sometimes an entity that owns a property in one of those ways is nested within another legal entity.
The ownership variations affect a PACE program in two important ways: (1) determining who is or are legal property owner(s) with authority to encumber the property with a PACE tax assessment, and (2) determining whether the owner(s) meets the program eligibility requirements. Grantees can determine the answers to both by having a title search performed on the property. A firm with specialized expertise and experience usually conducts this search.
The complexities of commercial property ownership make commercial title searches more expensive than their residential counterparts, as it takes longer to trace the chain of legal entities and verify who the owners are and whether program eligibility requirements are met. Title search costs can range from $200 to $1,000 for a single property, and the PACE program must factor in this expense and decide how best to cover it (i.e., built into administrative costs or billed separately to the applicant).
12. Specify Contractor Requirements
The commercial building energy audit market is fragmented, with no universally accepted standards for auditors. As a result, a commercial PACE program cannot point to a single accreditation that auditors be required to have. In the absence of a single accreditation, PACE programs best serve their participants by providing them with a list of recommended licenses/credentials to seek in a contractor’s team, along with questions to ask about their experience and what they will deliver to the client (the property owner seeking clean energy improvements). A sample list is provided in Attachment E. Finding a Qualified Energy Auditor.
Minimum requirements for energy audit and energy service contractors seeking to participate in the program and be included in the list of eligible contractors should include:
Hold licenses for the type of work they are doing, if any are required
Get permits for any work that they do that requires a permit
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