POINT OF VIEW New home improvement financing plan benefits consumers


When it comes to protecting our homes from hurricane damage, no one is more aware of the potential benefits than homeowners in coastal counties like Palm Beach. In 2016, we got relatively lucky when Hurricane Matthew inflicted only minimal damage on our area. We all know, however, that we remain vulnerable to the types of damage that struck areas like Flagler and Volusia. One of the best ways Palm Beach County residents can prepare for future hurricanes is to make improvements like hurricane-resistant roofing and adding storm shutters to windows.

On April 4, the Palm Beach County Commission gave county homeowners an innovative financing option for improving their homes’ hurricane resiliency and energy efficiency, or for adding renewable energy systems like solar panels to their properties. The County Commission voted to adopt Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) for county residents. This “yes” vote will not only improve public safety and energy-saving actions, it will also spur job growth and local economic activity as a wave of PACE-financed energy and hurricane-readiness improvements spread across the county.

Homeowners often make these types of improvements when they are in a crisis moment – either their roof has failed due to age, or has been damaged from a major weather event. It’s the same mentality that prevents many of us from upgrading to an energy-efficient water heater until our old water heater suddenly stops working, leaving us with a cold shower, even though we know very well that we would save energy – and money – in the long run if we upgraded to the state-of-the-art model today.

PACE is an innovative form of financing that encourages property owners to invest in hurricane resiliency and efficiency now, instead of later. PACE allows homeowners to install products that can save money on insurance or utility bills and to pay for the work with a fixed, competitive interest rate over time through their property taxes.

PACE-financed home improvement projects have a multiplier effect on many fronts: They increase demand for contractor services, which in turn creates quality construction-sector jobs and drives up economic activity in general. Estimates for Palm Beach County show that, as PACE financing expands in the residential sector, we can expect to see a saving of 727 million kilowatt hours, the creation of up to 1,100 jobs and a boost to our local economy by as much as $189 million in the first five years the program is active.

Palm Beach County joins its neighbors Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in making PACE financing available to homeowners. Within the county, Boynton Beach, Lake Clark Shores and Golf have already embraced this innovative new policy on their own. Now homeowners throughout Palm Beach County will have access to PACE.

As a community facing catastrophic weather and climate impacts, Palm Beach County has given its residents access to a valuable tool to help them be prepared and save energy at home. And PACE financing is cost-neutral to public budgets.

TIM GRABOSKI, DERFIELD BEACH

Editor’s note: Tim Graboski is the owner and operator of Graboski Roofing.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Journalists must give light; public can find its way

I was wrong. Years ago, people used to ask me what journalists should do to combat the nation’s drift toward “factish” and “truthy” logic. What was needed, I’d reply with misplaced confidence, is robust fact-checking. If news media were more aggressive in calling people out for lying, I predicted, they’d be...
Opinion: Choosing immigration criteria is a Sisyphean task

WASHINGTON — In 1790, the finest mind in the First Congress, and of his generation, addressed in the House of Representatives the immigration issue: “It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us.” Perhaps today’s 115th Congress...
Letters Downtown shambles shows folly’s future

Downtown shambles shows folly’s future Anyone who lives near downtown West Palm Beach and uses Flagler Dive on a regular basis can tell you this inconvenient eyesore is just like the South Cove Nature walkway in the Intracoastal (yes, that ridiculous project has a name). No one uses it. I drive on Flagler twice a day, every day at different times...
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

CARTOON VIEW DAVID HORSEY
POINT OF VIEW: Please accept my apology for President Trump

During my last year teaching overseas, the 2016 presidential campaign had already begun, and I promised my students that then-Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump would not be elected. In fact, I laughed when they expressed concern that it might happen. As I was the American adult in the room, they had the right to believe me, and I was...
More Stories