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Green Corridor - Ygrene
Green in South Florida means more than palm trees and lush tropical foliage. Green means lower power costs and an improved environment.
For owners of residential and commercial property looking for ways to make green improvements, there is good news. The financial means to make those improvements is within reach, thanks to a program about to launch in early 2013.
The Clean Energy Green Corridor is a relationship with Ygrene ( energy spelled backwards) because of an interlocal agreement enabled by Florida PACE laws. PACE (Property Assessment Clean Energy) legislation, enacted in 2010, indicates that energy retrofits are benefits for the entire community, so these improvements can be financed through property taxes. The initial funding for the improvements comes from private sources.
The Ygrene movement started in 2009 when Dennis Hunter, a Santa Rosa, CA real estate investor, created a model for use by private investors. The model led eventually to creation of Florida PACE laws. If a property owner is eligible for financing, depending on what the project is, the funding is made available immediately, without any relation to the property owner's credit record, said Joseph Spector, vice president of operations for Ygrene Florida.
Spector says that repayment appears as a line item on the owner s annual property tax bill. The number of years for repayment is determined when application is made and approved.
Both residential and commercial property are eligible for applications within Miami Shores, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and South Miami. In the City of Miami, commercial and multi-family buildings are eligible for application, but in Coral Gables only commercial property is eligible.
Here are some examples of green improvements that can be financed through this program: Lighting systems, replacement of doors and windows, improvements for wind resistance, HVAC systems and building insulation. According to Spector, benefits of these improvements can include enhanced property value, lower energy-related operating costs, hurricane protection, improved air quality within the structure(s), and a boost in occupancy lease rates (for commercial properties).
Contractors are key people in the Clean Energy Green Corridor. Under the PACE laws, Ygrene Florida gives them special training and certification. Contractors then use a special software application to check on a property owner s eligibility for the financing program.