31 Jan

Miami in the Green Pathway

(The Miami Herald) As the nation’s largest Hispanic construction association in the United States, the LBA is very much aware of the effects that the economy has had on the construction and real estate industry throughout our country and our community. Since 1971, our association has worked tirelessly at promoting and supporting ideas, initiatives and individuals with the vision of transforming Miami into a world class city and helping our community lead the way in sustainable economic growth; and it is our position that the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is a groundbreaking and viable initiative that not only advances our community by promoting clean technologies and improving property values, but does so by creating construction and building jobs, at a time when they are most needed.

In the coming days, the City of Miami Commission has an opportunity to once again lead our community by voting to become the largest member city of the Green Corridor, a group of South Florida cities that includes South Miami, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay, and make the PACE program available to its property owners, while also creating thousands of jobs. The PACE program will allow property owners to finance energy improvements and wind hardening projects repayable on their property tax bills and employ local building and trade contractors to make those improvements. This program will require no public money since it draws on private investment and will train and certify small local contractors, many of whom are LBA members.

The appeal of the Green Corridor is that it allows property owners to take immediate advantage of energy efficiency and wind hardening improvement upgrades though this city sponsored program with little-to-no out of pocket costs. Instead, these upgrades are tied to the value of your property and can be averaged into your annual tax bill over the long term. The money saved from the slashed utility bills coupled with the increase in property value and higher lease rates as a result of energy-efficient buildings is what makes the PACE program such an attractive option to traditional financing tools. The administrator of the program, Ygrene Energy Fund-Florida, offers a comprehensive energy efficiency and wind hardening funding solution based on the aforementioned model and provides certification and training – at no cost – for local contractors who will perform the work.

Ygrene’s management of the program will also alleviate the administrative burdens from the City, while bringing into our community millions of dollars in private capital needed to make this program successful. By being part of the Green Corridor District, the City of Miami will be a positive source of job creation, our buildings will be green and we can take pride in the knowledge that we are moving forward again. Please contact your city commission representative today to ensure we seize this opportunity.

(January 31, 2012)

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