Since 2009, more than 30 states have enacted Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) legislation, an innovative tool that commercial, industrial and multifamily property owners can use to secure affordable, long-term financing for energy upgrades to their buildings. C-PACE has taken off in the past year with dollar usage more than doubling since 2016, enabling over 1000 commercial buildings across the country to secure more than $450 million in financing from this program. However, few owners in the affordable multifamily housing sector have taken advantage of C-PACE.
This report seeks to understand whether there is an opportunity for C-PACE to fill a gap in financing energy efficiency in the affordable multifamily buildings sector and if so, what are the best practices for ensuring this financing mechanism benefits affordable multifamily stakeholders. The report begins by providing a brief overview of C-PACE and then provides data about those specific multifamily transactions that have used this innovative financing tool. Based on interviews with Program administrators that have demonstrated ability to move C-PACE financing into the affordable multifamily sector, the authors then present recommendations for both the policy and implementation sides to significantly expand C-PACE’s uptake in this critical part of the building industry. The report’s Appendices provide details about the research methodology as well as current enabling legislation and C-PACE programs and transactions. Appendix D provides valuable details about a complex recapitalization project that used C-PACE financing and Appendix E provides state specific resources. Finally, Appendix F features the first state Attorney General Opinion Letter to be approved by HUD.