Power your profits with sustainable finance

Sustainable FinancingWhat are my funding options?

OnBill
OnBill

OnBill is a short-term contract that provides financing for qualifying renovation projects that reduce utility bills with no money down. Payments are made on your utility bill.

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PACE
PACE

PACE is a long- or short-term contract that provides financing for qualifying renovations and new construction with no money down. Payments are made on your property tax bill.

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PPA
PPA

PPA is a long-term contract that provides property owners with renewable energy. You are not charged for equipment or installation and you only pay for the energy use.

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ArticlesGet in-depth knowledge

New Retrofit Program to Support Portfolio of 87,000 Houses of Worship Nationwide
<p>ecoAmerica is the largest nonprofit association of faith-based organizations in the country, representing over 87,000 houses of worship as members of the Blessed Tomorrow program. Unety is the exclusive technology partner for ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program. Members in the Blessed Tomorrow program have made aggressive commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>By participating in this program, you will be introduced to the property owners in your area who are seeking contractors to help them upgrade and repair their properties. Projects range in size from $5,000 up to $2 million and include roof replacements, all types of energy system upgrades, renewable energy installations, and more. The program launches in August 2020.</p> <div style="text-align: center;"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xU_Q7zjW_VQ" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <br /><br /> <a href="https://app.unety.io/auth/sign-up" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferer">Sign up today</a> to participate and unlock the benefits of the program. </div>
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The future of project finance in a post-COVID world
<p>The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to greatly impact all areas of the economy, sparing no sector, including project finance.</p> <p>As we speak with our contractor community, we notice that traditional lending is tightening up. However, the credit crunch is not evenly distributed. Some forms of project financing and capital are flowing as actively as ever.</p> <h3>3 Financial Trends We’re Hearing About</h3> <h4>Refinancing old projects to keep the lights on</h4> <p>The current turmoil means that many property owners are short of cash to pay the bills. The media has been all over this story, focusing their headlines primarily on federal government solutions, such as the paycheck protection grants and disaster relief loans; however, behind the headlines a new trend is emerging - driven by contractors. Projects that were completed up to three years ago may qualify a property owner for rescue capital being offered by a select group of energy finance lenders. Available in Florida, California, New York, and a dozen other states, this new form of rescue capital is available with low, fixed-rates and repayment terms up to 25 years. Through government-certified lenders, property owners can borrow up to 20% of the value of their property. For many of the contractors in our community, being able to inform their clients that help is available has taken on a new sense of urgency.</p> <h4>Transition period drives small retrofits</h4> <p>As people begin to return to work, caution and uncertainty are driving property owners to reconsider how they manage their space. Over the coming 12 to 24 months, capital is expected to be diverted from large traditional projects to restacking interior spaces both in order to accommodate the new demands of social distancing and also in response to tenants who vacate or reduce their occupied space. There is less and less of an appetite for large open space environments where office workers or retail patrons are close enough to rub elbows. As occupants push property owners to provide safe and healthy environments, it will fall on the contractors to do the work and capital providers will be needed to fund it. Increasingly, unconventional sources of capital that many contractors are well acquainted with, such as PACE, are being applied to this new need for fit-out financing.</p> <h4>The new normal drives large retrofits</h4> <p>Once the economy begins a full-speed recovery, a new norm will set in. Trends that have been undercurrents of commercial real estate for the last several years - such as the move away from shopping malls; the need for affordable housing; and the practice of remote working - will have accelerated to such an extent that there will be an imbalance of supply-demand across entire asset classes within commercial real estate. To reset the balance between supply and demand, many properties will need to be repositioned and fully retrofit as new types of properties. Some offices will become apartments and shopping malls will become logistic centers. Nearly all new construction will be on hold as excess supply is repositioned. This will be the age of large retrofits.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>We are holding firm to the belief that we are all in this — and will get through it — together. And if history is any guide, the eventual aftermath of this shock event will see renewed success for our economy and communities.</p> <p>We are here for you and the many contractors and property owners throughout the country.</p> <p><a href="mailto:sales@unety.io" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Contact us today</a> to learn about Unety’s financing options, competitive rates to start, continue or restart your projects with lower monthly payments.</p>
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Top five ways to help the community during crisis
<p>We are currently living through a period of uncertainty and concern that we'll never forget. Like many of you, we are trying to do what we can to help the community navigate this challenging time.</p> <p>As contractors your ecosystem includes property owners, lenders and other contractors in the community. During this time all of them need support to ensure that buildings have appropriate ventilation, water, heat, roofing and other essentials for their new usage patterns during the pandemic.</p> <h3>Top 5 ways you can help the community:</h3> <h4>Ventilation of Multifamily, Healthcare Facilities, and Assisted Living Facilities</h4> <p>Ventilation and air filtration systems are more important now than ever. Faulty or suboptimal systems could in the worst cases facilitate COVID-19 transmission, but also impact general indoor air quality and daily respiratory health and resilience -- which are particularly important to upkeep in order to mitigate COVID-19 impacts to individuals. ASHRAE <a href="https://www.ashrae.org/news/ashraejournal/guidance-for-building-operations-during-the-covid-19-pandemic" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends improving air filters to MERV-13 and increasing outdoor air ventilation during the mild weather season</a>. Yet, these systems are often de-prioritized or run-to-fail, risking suboptimal performance. This risk increases the more the system is used, and now that people are staying home more and hospitals are strained, these systems are working overtime. During these times of heightened risk, building operators cannot afford for these systems to fail. Contact your neighboring businesses to remind them of the importance of proactive maintenance and optimal performance. Ask them to check on their system status or offer to check for them.</p> <h4>Refrigeration of Cold Storage Facilities</h4> <p>In a matter of just days, the demands on Cold Storage Facilities increased dramatically. Grocers and medical suppliers need to restock more frequently, requiring more delivery miles and more stock churn per week than ever before. This puts increasing demands on refrigeration systems. For systems that are already near or beyond their recommended useful life, property owners should be on the look out. You can help them look for signs that systems are nearing failure and understand the higher cost of emergency repairs, so that repairs or replacements can be made during scheduled downtime instead of during a critical period that puts their much needed supplies at risk.</p> <h4>Managing downtime at under utilized facilities</h4> <p>For many commercial building owners, now is a difficult time. Their buildings are not being used. Their tenants may be struggling with rent. And yet they still need to pay the bills. Helping these buildings save money and manage costs quickly are urgent needs. You can help them to manage the downtime of critical equipment that they would be unable to manage on their own because you know what can be completely shut down, what can operated at a minimum energy consumption level beyond the conventional specification, and what must continue to be operated within specifications. Ramping down HVAC systems with variable speed motors and pumps, adding “pony” or smaller chillers/boilers, balancing and tuning building management controls, fixing or replacing broken VAV boxes, and adding lighting timers or sensors are just a few ideas to improve building performance and reduce costs of under-utilized spaces.</p> <h4>Managing uptime at overly utilized facilities</h4> <p>The way we use buildings fundamentally changed almost overnight. Offices and retail facilities that once buzzed with occupants during daytime and early evening hours are now quiet, while multifamily properties, groceries, and other essential businesses are suddenly running at full capacity 24/7. Many property owners do not have the extra time or the extra hands to manage the extra demands suddenly placed on their systems. You can help by providing a quick site inspection and a review of the system operations schedule to ensure that the added equipment utilization is not putting their systems at risk. Dependable backup generators and adding redundancy to their systems can be critical to ensuring maximum uptime to serve their customers</p> <h4>Cost savings upgrades that don’t disrupt occupants</h4> <p>As some buildings such as schools and malls sit idle, this can be an opportunity to help building owners who had been putting off major energy system refreshes or upgrades because they either didn’t have the time or they didn’t want to disrupt their occupants. As tough economic times descend across the country, these infrastructure investments are a source of cash savings that could make a big difference once buildings return to their standard operation. There are many financing programs that ensure that utility savings exceed the cost of the project, providing the owner with positive cash flow once the building is operating again.</p> <p>In this crucial time it is important to remember that we are all in this together. We shouldn’t compromise on the essential needs of shelter.</p> <p>We look forward to supporting our communities with upkeep and efficiency of their building infrastructure.</p>
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Thats WACC!
<p>Cash is not free; and a cash investment is not always cheaper than a loan.</p> <p>The cost of money – known as the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) – tells you the cost of the cash that is currently in your bank account. The money in your bank account may have come from your company’s profits, but those profits came at a steep price. You may have spent money on marketing, operations, or overhead; some of the money you spent may have come from a loan, line of credit, an investor, or maybe even your personal savings. So, how do you know how much that cash costs?</p>
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How Financing Could Solve Climate Change
<p>An innovation is quietly taking hold and it is on track to make today’s environmental design best practices the status quo before the end of the decade. Already, many of the nation’s largest property owners are using it to retrofit entire portfolios, while major developers are including it in all new construction. Universities are promoting it; think tanks are validating it; and business magazines singing its praises. Available in over 37 states, it can be used to replace old appliances just as easily as it can be used to install rooftop solar. It’s called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE; and while you’ve probably seen it in the headlines, chances are that it’s not what you think it is.</p> <p>PACE is a novel way to improve America’s building stock. For projects that don’t guarantee energy savings PACE transforms the standard ROI model based on payback periods into a question of cash flows. By offering borrowers long enough terms to ensure that the annual repayments are always less than the annual utility savings, PACE projects should always be cash flow positive within the first year after construction completion.</p> <p>However, PACE isn’t a “source” of funds, per se. It’s a mechanism, through which funds are transferred from a capital provider to a government agency to a building and then repaid. This transfer process changes the accounting treatment of the funding, greatly improving a project’s economics while simultaneously aligning the ongoing utility savings with the upfront costs of the improvements. In essence, PACE is the first scalable solution to one of the great obstacles to environmental best practice in commercial real estate: the split incentive.</p> <h2>Solving Problems with Taxes</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 370px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 444px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/20fec51739ff58c72a446d8837ee75e6/93c72/solving-problems.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 70.94594594594594%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/2wBDABALDA4MChAODQ4SERATGCgaGBYWGDEjJR0oOjM9PDkzODdASFxOQERXRTc4UG1RV19iZ2hnPk1xeXBkeFxlZ2P/2wBDARESEhgVGC8aGi9jQjhCY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2P/wgARCAAOABQDASIAAhEBAxEB/8QAFwABAQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAECBf/EABUBAQEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAB/9oADAMBAAIQAxAAAAHuyE2F/8QAFxABAQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAERIf/aAAgBAQABBQKOosZUf//EABQRAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABD/2gAIAQMBAT8BP//EABQRAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABD/2gAIAQIBAT8BP//EABYQAAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABAgMf/aAAgBAQAGPwJKP//EABkQAAMBAQEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABESFBUf/aAAgBAQABPyFh7fhU0bxkeCpp/9oADAMBAAIAAwAAABC3z//EABQRAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABD/2gAIAQMBAT8QP//EABQRAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABD/2gAIAQIBAT8QP//EABsQAAICAwEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAERACFBYXGx/9oACAEBAAE/EHgs2z6oBKKarnQgLUBvrgDKJeRuWKt4n//Z&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Solving Problems with Taxes" title="Solving Problems with Taxes" src="/static/20fec51739ff58c72a446d8837ee75e6/93c72/solving-problems.jpg" srcset="/static/20fec51739ff58c72a446d8837ee75e6/40f63/solving-problems.jpg 225w, /static/20fec51739ff58c72a446d8837ee75e6/93c72/solving-problems.jpg 444w" sizes="(max-width: 444px) 100vw, 444px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>In energy services parlance, split incentive refers to a standard clause in most net leases that obligate a tenant to pay for utility costs and a landlord to pay for building upgrades. Intuitively, this clause may make sense. After all, tenants use the utilities and upgrades increase the value of the landlord’s building. Except that most landlords own their buildings for a long time, often beyond the useful life of the upgrade; thus, they rarely collect a return on the added asset value. In fact, a building owner, keeping all the costs and giving away all the energy savings, may never see a positive return on the investment.</p> <p>Therefore, it should be of no surprise that Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s 2013 “Remaining Market Potential of the U.S. Energy Services Company Industry” found that commercial buildings only achieved a 10% adoption rate of energy efficiency technologies. Consequently, this sector of the economy accounts for a whopping 40% of energy consumption in the U.S. and is the largest source of carbon reduction potential in the country.</p> <p>The power of PACE that solves the split-incentive paradox is its ability to convert project financing to property tax assessment financing, triggering an accounting treatment transformation with deep ramifications. While funds provided to the building must be repaid, the repayment obligation is treated as a property tax. Under most commercial leases, tenants pay the property tax either as a part of the rent or as a separate charge, placing them with de facto responsibility for repaying the cost of the project; thereby, closing the split-incentive gap.</p> <p>What this means for commercial building owners is that they can access low-cost, private sector capital to pay for 100% of eligible projects, finance the cost of the project over time to ensure that the annual payments are less than the annual utility savings, and avoid split-incentive. The building is improved without any capital expenditure and operating expenses are reduced for either the tenant or the landlord – whoever is responsible for paying property taxes and utilities.</p> <p>There is no catch; no fine print. This simple, yet eloquent mechanism called tax assessment financing currently funds public service projects – from new sidewalks to street lamps – in over 37,000 jurisdictions across America and has been doing so since 1736, when Benjamin Franklin proposed the idea to pay for a Philadelphia fire department. The novelty of PACE is that it is the nation’s first voluntary property tax-assessment, and it can be applied to individual buildings.</p> <h2>Disrupting Commercial Real Estate</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--right" style="width: 370px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 598px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/a9e8d0e4bdcf5aee4aa81d24b0312efc/16bf3/commercial-real-estate.png" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 112.20735785953178%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/png;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/a9e8d0e4bdcf5aee4aa81d24b0312efc/16bf3/commercial-real-estate.png" srcset="/static/a9e8d0e4bdcf5aee4aa81d24b0312efc/064a4/commercial-real-estate.png 225w, /static/a9e8d0e4bdcf5aee4aa81d24b0312efc/44727/commercial-real-estate.png 450w, /static/a9e8d0e4bdcf5aee4aa81d24b0312efc/16bf3/commercial-real-estate.png 598w" sizes="(max-width: 598px) 100vw, 598px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Imagine if building owners were perfectly incentivized to upgrade their buildings and energy efficiency technology adoption rates jumped from 10% to 90%. In addition to turning on one of the most prolific methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, PACE could unleash over $1 trillion dollars of investment that owners would direct towards important environmental upgrades. All the low-hanging fruit of energy and water efficiency optimization would immediately be picked; all deferred maintenance would be completed; and underutilized space, such as rooftops, would become lucrative opportunities for building owners to generate power or improve the tenant experience with green space. Such a future is not far off. Currently, the fastest growing source of financing in the U.S., PACE is following the same growth trajectory as CMBS, the largest source of financing in the U.S. for building projects.</p> <p>As markets learn to use PACE at a meaningful scale, its impact will be felt across industries. Already, the earliest signs of disruption can be seen. Legacy interests in the banking community who view PACE as competition to their less eloquent loan products are beginning to offer PACE products. Contractors who quickly learned the basics of PACE are starting to grab market share from their less responsive and often much larger competitors, presenting themselves as PACE experts and offering a solution that sets them far apart.</p> <p>Could PACE be the special ingredient that makes green buildings commonplace? Such a market shift is not without precedent. Before Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) were introduced to the solar industry, rooftop solar was a luxury consumer product; however, the advent of the PPA made solar energy an economically attractive option for millions of building owners. Today, solar is the fastest growing new sources of power in the country and is positioned to become a material component of the overall power mix of the nation.</p> <p>Having only developed the public sector infrastructure necessary to handle the cash streams over the last 3 to 5 years, PACE is still in its infancy; yet the depth of its potential is clear. Red and blues states across the country are passing legislation to enable it, making it the fastest growing financial tool in the U.S. As PACE goes mainstream, vendors who align with this disruptive tool will emerge as new industry leaders and products once thought to be luxuries will become the new standard.</p>
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How to get Approved for Commercial PACE Financing
<p>Commercial PACE funds are lent to borrowers to finance construction projects that improve the operational quality of a property; they are funded by private investors and banks; they give borrowers the option to take long repayment terms, up to 25 years; and they come with unique tax advantages that often make them the cheapest capital option available.</p> <p>However, Commercial PACE is only available through government-sponsored programs. The rules of each program vary by state. Therefore, the application process can be very different from a traditional loan from a bank.</p> <h2>1. Verify that there is a program in your area</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 150px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 483px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/bcfc72c0658f25456ee358e2cec2a934/dce30/1-get-approved.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 68.73706004140786%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/bcfc72c0658f25456ee358e2cec2a934/dce30/1-get-approved.jpg" srcset="/static/bcfc72c0658f25456ee358e2cec2a934/40f63/1-get-approved.jpg 225w, /static/bcfc72c0658f25456ee358e2cec2a934/df2c7/1-get-approved.jpg 450w, /static/bcfc72c0658f25456ee358e2cec2a934/dce30/1-get-approved.jpg 483w" sizes="(max-width: 483px) 100vw, 483px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>The first step in getting PACE funding is to make sure that it is available in your area. Commercial PACE legislation has passed in over 37 states plus the District of Columbia; however, only 19 states plus D.C. have started a PACE program. To be able to receive PACE funding, your city needs to be part of a PACE program. One of the most up-to-date lists of towns with PACE programs can be found on the PACENation.org website. For businesses in D.C., Unety can help you verify that your area has a program. Just visit the Apply Now page of our website and enter your zip code.</p> <h2>2. Verify that you can pay a property tax</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--right" style="width: 150px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 444px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/03dd0ff8be4327af9236c146abd53b02/93c72/2-get-approved.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 70.94594594594594%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/03dd0ff8be4327af9236c146abd53b02/93c72/2-get-approved.jpg" srcset="/static/03dd0ff8be4327af9236c146abd53b02/40f63/2-get-approved.jpg 225w, /static/03dd0ff8be4327af9236c146abd53b02/93c72/2-get-approved.jpg 444w" sizes="(max-width: 444px) 100vw, 444px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>While you can receive Commercial PACE for many property types, it’s not allowed for all types. Specifically, you can’t get PACE on most government-owned properties. There are some exceptions to this rule in D.C., such as when government-owned land that is used by a private business under the terms of a ground lease. However, the borrower always needs to be able to pay a property tax. Most property owners, ground lessees, and tenants can pay a property tax; that includes places of worship. If you are a tenant under a net or gross lease, chances are you are already paying a property tax as either part of your rent or as a separate charge.</p> <h2>3. Funds must be used to improve the operational quality of property</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 150px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 444px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/13938f1b72476780b2089192f5c4b6e7/93c72/3-get-approved.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 70.94594594594594%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/13938f1b72476780b2089192f5c4b6e7/93c72/3-get-approved.jpg" srcset="/static/13938f1b72476780b2089192f5c4b6e7/40f63/3-get-approved.jpg 225w, /static/13938f1b72476780b2089192f5c4b6e7/93c72/3-get-approved.jpg 444w" sizes="(max-width: 444px) 100vw, 444px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>If a project costs at least $50,000; is fixed to a commercial property; and involves repairing, replacing, or newly installing equipment or materials that impacts either your water bill or your energy bill, chances are that it would qualify for PACE. From windows, walls, and roof work to HVAC, lighting, and plumbing to renewable energy, there is a very wide variety of projects that have received PACE financing. If you’re not sure about this one, that’s okay. Try out Unety’s value calculator on the homepage page of our website. If the calculator shows you reducing your utility bills and you’re doing a project that’s on the list of preapproved project types, you’ll probably be fine.</p> <h2>4. The value of the property must be high enough to protect the borrower</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 140px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 315px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/82ad73a9490eceb2e66a0567861bc70d/434a1/4-get-approved.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 100%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/82ad73a9490eceb2e66a0567861bc70d/434a1/4-get-approved.jpg" srcset="/static/82ad73a9490eceb2e66a0567861bc70d/40f63/4-get-approved.jpg 225w, /static/82ad73a9490eceb2e66a0567861bc70d/434a1/4-get-approved.jpg 315w" sizes="(max-width: 315px) 100vw, 315px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Most PACE programs include a rule that requires the value of the property to be high enough to protect the borrower if there is ever a default. For borrowers in most jurisdictions, the property must be 3 times the amount of the PACE for properties that are debt free, or 4 times the amount of the PACE for properties that have an existing mortgage. So, if you want to borrow $50,000, your property should be worth at least $200,000.</p> <h2>5. The amount of debt on the property should not over burden the borrower</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--right" style="width: 150px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 300px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/e0eeb7ab81466fefebca5730e699951f/afcd2/5-get-approved.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 100%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/2wBDABALDA4MChAODQ4SERATGCgaGBYWGDEjJR0oOjM9PDkzODdASFxOQERXRTc4UG1RV19iZ2hnPk1xeXBkeFxlZ2P/2wBDARESEhgVGC8aGi9jQjhCY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2NjY2P/wgARCAAUABQDASIAAhEBAxEB/8QAFwABAAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAECA//EABYBAQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABAv/aAAwDAQACEAMQAAAB1TlZZVqSAD//xAAaEAABBQEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABABAREiEi/9oACAEBAAEFAsUNzUiUMD//xAAUEQEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAg/9oACAEDAQE/AR//xAAVEQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARIP/aAAgBAgEBPwFj/8QAGhAAAQUBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABARIFFhof/aAAgBAQAGPwIfiaVH/8QAHBABAQACAgMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAREAITFxEFGR/9oACAEBAAE/ISw0053zhBU19Yy6wdKdsQQe2BgtfeTJ4//aAAwDAQACAAMAAAAQp9d8/8QAFxEBAQEBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARARIf/aAAgBAwEBPxAJqcn/xAAZEQEBAAMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABEQAQIbH/2gAIAQIBAT8QV2eODS5B7r//xAAgEAEAAgEEAgMAAAAAAAAAAAABABEhMUFhkVFxocHw/9oACAEBAAE/ECIiCroDGJrAVqsp7jSTQ5rxxCMF+Vn7HzKCU8vqGBlsvPcy3e423e4FT//Z&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" title="Disrupting Commercial Real Estate" src="/static/e0eeb7ab81466fefebca5730e699951f/afcd2/5-get-approved.jpg" srcset="/static/e0eeb7ab81466fefebca5730e699951f/40f63/5-get-approved.jpg 225w, /static/e0eeb7ab81466fefebca5730e699951f/afcd2/5-get-approved.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Another common consumer protection are rules that limit the amount of debt already on the property. This helps to ensure that the borrower is not over burdened by debt when they apply for PACE. In most jurisdictions, the debt limit is set at 85% of the value of the property, inclusive of PACE.</p> <h2>6. No present threats of repossession</h2> <p>The final qualifications for receiving PACE funding relate to verifying that there are no risks that property ownership could be lost. The owner of the property must prove they have a clear title to the property (if you’re a tenant applying for PACE, your landlord will need to work with you and submit proof to your PACE lender). The lender may also check public records to verify that the property has not defaulted on taxes for at least three years and that there is no history of environmental contamination on the site.</p>
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Futuristic Green Building Technologies You Won’t Believe
<p>Picture an office that cleans up after itself, improves indoor air quality with nanotech-formulated paint, and responds to sunlight by magically adjusting window tint, all while fighting climate change. Then imagine entering your workspace to find your desk light on and the temperature just as you like it. Though it may sound like a scene from a fictional sci-fi movie, these innovations are already at work in some modern buildings, in the form of a networked ecosystem of “intelligent” building equipment and devices.</p> <p>Beyond the “Wow!” factor and the large-scale benefits to our planet, green and smart building technologies are changing the way we live and work, and creating business opportunities for technology innovators, commercial building owners and tenants. Buildings designed with sustainability-supporting materials, Big-Data-crunching automated systems, and onsite clean energy are expected to represented 55 percent of all U.S. commercial and institutional construction in 2015, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Dodge Construction Green Outlook. Recent research from groups like CO2 Scorecard, demonstrate that these kinds of advancements in how people consume energy have contributed twice as much to the recent drop in U.S. GHG emissions as the reduced use of coal in favor of natural gas.</p> <p>It’s no coincidence: sustained public interest in sustainability has triggered a surge of green building innovation. Spiraling water concerns and energy costs have sparked resource-efficient building operations among commercial property owners and occupiers. New regulations in many U.S. states and municipalities provide further motivation in the form of energy disclosure ordinances or tax incentives for sustainable construction and building operations. Also important is the growing body of research showing that green buildings are good for employee health and well-being. Corporate tenants are willing to pay higher rents for the resulting workplace productivity gains, while employees and consumers alike prefer companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.</p> <p>Here are a few of the building technologies that are changing the game of greening the planet –and transforming our culture in the process.</p> <h2>Nanotech Wonders: Paint that invisibly cleans air and more</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 300px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 318px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/4f83944c59dd1883e7d3b62ae7a7cf86/7b765/nanotech-wonders.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 50%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Nanotech Wonders: Paint that invisibly cleans air and more" title="Nanotech Wonders: Paint that invisibly cleans air and more" src="/static/4f83944c59dd1883e7d3b62ae7a7cf86/7b765/nanotech-wonders.jpg" srcset="/static/4f83944c59dd1883e7d3b62ae7a7cf86/40f63/nanotech-wonders.jpg 225w, /static/4f83944c59dd1883e7d3b62ae7a7cf86/7b765/nanotech-wonders.jpg 318w" sizes="(max-width: 318px) 100vw, 318px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Does the paint in your office clear the air? Now it can. A Philippines-based company, Pacific Paint (Boysen®) Philippines Inc. created the world’s first air-cleaning paint. It’s based on nanoscale titanium dioxide, used to reduce harmful emissions in power plants and motor vehicles. It interacts with light to break down nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into harmless substances.</p> <p>Nanotechnology is also behind smart electrochromic glass windows that can respond to environmental conditions. These windows can be integrated with building automation systems and programmed, along with other building equipment, to utilize natural sunshine and heat to offset the need for artificial lighting and artificial heating from HVAC.</p> <p>Nanotechnology can even improve hygiene: Adding silver nanoparticles to paint can add lasting antimicrobial properties, an infection-prevention technique borrowed from the medical world. The biocidal effect of the released silver ions prevents the growth of mold, algae and bacteria.</p> <p>Innovation in materials science and production technologies has made green building materials a thriving industry sector, with the global market projected to reach $529 billion by 2020, according to research firm Global Industry Analysts. For example, one category of new creative sustainably produced products is fire-retardant insulation produced from would-be waste materials such as shredded denim, plastic milk bottles, newspapers, agricultural straw, hemp and flax.</p> <h2>HAL 9000? More like the coolest treehouse ever</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 370px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 610px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/ff1c4a2e8b986925b534066f6f3c2573/4b0de/hal-9000.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 59.83606557377049%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="HAL 9000? More like the coolest treehouse ever" title="HAL 9000? More like the coolest treehouse ever" src="/static/ff1c4a2e8b986925b534066f6f3c2573/4b0de/hal-9000.jpg" srcset="/static/ff1c4a2e8b986925b534066f6f3c2573/40f63/hal-9000.jpg 225w, /static/ff1c4a2e8b986925b534066f6f3c2573/df2c7/hal-9000.jpg 450w, /static/ff1c4a2e8b986925b534066f6f3c2573/4b0de/hal-9000.jpg 610w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>You arrive at your office building. The elevator is waiting for you as soon as you enter the lobby. It takes you straight to your floor without you pressing a button. You find your workspace ready for you, with lighting and temperature as you prefer, and your computer turned on for use. All this triggered when you parked your electric car in a wireless charging spot in the parking garage. Intelligent building automation systems are bringing this scenario to life today.</p> <p>While it’s common to describe smart buildings as being driven by a brain, the future doesn’t really resemble HAL 9000—the sentient computer of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Instead, the intelligence is becoming increasingly distributed in an ecosystem of connected devices and equipment engaged in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Like natural habitats such as trees or coral reefs, the parts of the ecosystem of a building are specialized to serve distinct functions with minimal intervention from the users.</p> <p>Today’s smart buildings house networks of interactive, programmable devices and equipment providing heating, cooling, elevators, lighting, security and more.</p> <p>Smart lighting, in particular, has become has become a fast-growing Internet of Things category according to global technology research firm ON World. The firm predicts that, by 2020, 100 million Internet-connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be installed. As one of best sources from which to save energy and improve workplace functionality, whole lighting systems can respond to the availability of natural light or presence of occupants spread across a building and automatically adjust in real-time down to the level of a single bulb.</p> <p>While traditional building equipment in older buildings still lacks embedded intelligence, companies like Enlighted can leverage existing building management systems to introduce operation optimization algorithms to otherwise dumb equipment. The Silicon Valley-based global provider of end-to-end managed application services also uses cloud technology to connect the disparate building systems within a single building or across whole global portfolios. Combined with skilled facilities management staff, this level of integration opens new frontiers in how humans, machines and buildings can interact.</p> <h2>Energy sourcing: onsite energy technology goes net zero</h2> <p>First the bad news: The United States generates more CO2 emissions than any country in the world except China; and commercial and residential properties generate approximately 40 percent of these emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Energy consumption is the driver of all this. With nearly 30 percent of the $202 billion spent annually on U.S. commercial and industrial energy wasted, it’s not surprising that energy efficiency is a priority for commercial property owners. In fact, investing $279 billion in U.S. building efficiency could save more than $1 trillion in energy costs over 10 years, with every dollar invested producing three dollars of operational savings, according to report from The Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group.</p> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--right" style="width: 370px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 768px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/d48618dd275bb80945d5bd0aab1d2a54/7fd22/energy-sourcing.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 56.25%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Energy sourcing" title="Energy sourcing" src="/static/d48618dd275bb80945d5bd0aab1d2a54/7fd22/energy-sourcing.jpg" srcset="/static/d48618dd275bb80945d5bd0aab1d2a54/40f63/energy-sourcing.jpg 225w, /static/d48618dd275bb80945d5bd0aab1d2a54/df2c7/energy-sourcing.jpg 450w, /static/d48618dd275bb80945d5bd0aab1d2a54/7fd22/energy-sourcing.jpg 768w" sizes="(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Now the good news: An energy efficiency call to action is being heeded. U.S. GhG emissions have declined by 10 percent since 2005 primarily thanks to energy efficiency. To further accelerate these reductions, we can compound the efficiency gains on the demand side with improvements on the supply side.</p> <p>The transformation of energy markets from coal to natural gas – enabled in part by fracking – is already showing how quickly a low carbon energy supply impacts national greenhouse gas emissions. Building-integrated energy generation has the potential to be even more disruptive.</p> <p>Adoption of onsite renewable energy technologies is rapidly increasing. Tax incentives and technological advances have made wind, geothermal and solar power installation, smaller, more powerful and more affordable today than in the past. They can even be incorporated into traditional building materials, substantially reducing installation and material costs. Solar power generating paint, windows, and road-surfacing materials are just a few of the applications for building component materials happening today.</p> <p>Waste conversion technologies are also on the rise. New alternative options include biogas digesters that can turn methane from food waste into electricity. On a smaller scale, it is becoming common place for a building can to use refrigerator exhaust to heat water, heat exchangers to heat the building with the heat generated by office machines and computers, or drivers to convert the motion of vertical transportation systems into electricity. For existing buildings which are expensive to retrofit with these new advanced technologies, building owners can partner with renewable energy companies that will install and maintain energy equipment at no cost, in exchange for an energy-purchase agreement and the right to sell excess energy to the municipal grid. In fact, commercial property owners can use an energy matchmaking service that recommends the most cost-effective options, also at no cost to the property owner—a timely service, given the growing universe of highly technical solutions.</p> <p>New renewable energy technologies, and falling prices for older technologies, have led to the emergence of “net-zero” and “Living Building” standards for environmentally friendly buildings. While exact definitions vary, the concept is that the total energy a building consumes annually is equal to or less than the amount of energy it creates. Most zero-energy buildings tap the public electrical grids for energy storage and backup power, but some are entirely independent. All rely on some form of renewable energy, combined with energy-efficient building design, systems and operation.</p> <p>For all the advancements in building-integrated renewable energies, you might be wondering you haven’t heard of it having a bigger impact already. The truth is that the building-integrated energy generation sector hasn’t had its “fracking moment,” but that may be just around the corner. The biggest barrier to more wide-spread adoption is efficient energy storage, and solutions are coming. Startups are emerging around the world with innovative products. Even automakers like BMW are getting involved. Solving this issue will do as much for building-integrated and distributed energy as the development of Nikola Tesla’s AC current generators did for centralized district power nearly a century ago.</p> <h2>The incredible shrinking power grid</h2> <div class="up-articles__content__image up-articles__content__image--left" style="width: 370px"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-wrapper" style="position: relative; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; max-width: 610px;"> <a class="gatsby-resp-image-link" href="/static/554a91e64332e819ba68d316d39dcc9f/4b0de/power-grid.jpg" style="display: block" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> <span class="gatsby-resp-image-background-image" style="padding-bottom: 58.19672131147541%; position: relative; bottom: 0; left: 0; background-image: url(&apos;data:image/jpeg;base64,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&apos;); background-size: cover; display: block;"></span> <img class="gatsby-resp-image-image" alt="Power Grid" title="Power Grid" src="/static/554a91e64332e819ba68d316d39dcc9f/4b0de/power-grid.jpg" srcset="/static/554a91e64332e819ba68d316d39dcc9f/40f63/power-grid.jpg 225w, /static/554a91e64332e819ba68d316d39dcc9f/df2c7/power-grid.jpg 450w, /static/554a91e64332e819ba68d316d39dcc9f/4b0de/power-grid.jpg 610w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" loading="lazy"> </a> </span> </div> <p>Combined, the use of smart building technologies and renewable energy is displacing the traditional centralized power model with the technology-driven distributed energy concept. Today, a group of connected buildings can become its own energy self-sufficient microgrid, exchanging power among its members from diverse power sources. With the emergence of interactive smart grids in some communities, a smart building can even sell excess energy to the utility company.</p> <p>The United States may even see the kind of market disruption that Germany is already experiencing, where renewable energy powers half of the country’s electricity-generating capacity, and the system of centralized power generation is up-ended, in favor of locally generated power.</p> <p>These innovations in futuristic building technologies represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to greening the built environment. As demand for sustainably created and operated buildings continues to grow, we expect more exciting developments will move from the lab into actual practice.</p>
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