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Property managers often struggle to get technically sound energy efficiency and renewable energy projects approved for financial reasons. Sometimes the split incentive embedded in leases makes projects uneconomic for the building owner. Other times, property managers simply cannot get internal capital allocated to clean energy efficiency projects or cannot gain approval for the use of external financing. For commercial real estate property owners, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing can remove the typical barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency improvements.
As our country continues to reel from the effects of the Great Recession, it is more important than ever to foster a more pragmatic appreciation for the role that government can and should play in shaping an economy that benefits us all. Unfortunately, Americans have a hard time understanding how the economy works, and they have a very limited sense of what government's role is or could be. But, there are openings in the public mind, especially in the wake of the recent and ongoing economic crisis. While experts may focus on statistics like the Gross Domestic Product or how the market is faring, average people tend to judge how the economy is doing by the wellbeing of those around them. Do people have jobs? Can they send their kids to college? Can they save for retirement? This is the moment to connect the dots between these basic economic expectations and the public policy and fiscal decisions that shape the answers. Research conducted for Demos has revealed a core idea that begins to connect those dots in helpful ways: our public systems and structures are the foundation of our economy and they are essential for a strong and vibrant middle class. These public systems and structures - like our schools, highways, the FDIC, and our reliable court systems - have always been critical to our economic success.
Community leaders care most about an issue when their own constituents are involved. Having local property owners voice an interest in PACE is a great way to get the attention of a government board. Form partnerships with stakeholders in the community through chambers of commerce or homeowner associations. Make things easy for constituents by providing template letters of support and contact information for elected officials.
Economic development is the process of building strong, adaptive economies. Strategies driven by local assets and realities, a diverse industry base and a commitment to equality of opportunity and sustainable practices have emerged as those that will ensure a strong foundation for long-term stability and growth. Even within the parameters of these principles, what constitutes success in economic development and the specific strategies to accomplish it will look different from place to place. Despite these differences, leadership is consistently identified as a critical factor in effective economic development. Dedicated leadership is needed to raise awareness, help develop and communicate a common vision, and motivate stakeholders into action. Although leadership can come from many places within the community, local elected officials are particularly well-positioned to take on this role. The political influence of elected leadership is critical to helping communities stay the course toward a vibrant economic future. From the bully pulpit to the design and coordination of public policies, mayors and councilmembers have opportunities every day to effect change and promote a strategic vision of economic growth for their community.