The Business Behind Sustainability: Texas PACE Authority Internship

Written by Aryana Imani

I am a Project Management Intern at Texas PACE Authority (TPA). PACE is a financial tool administered by local governments that helps property owners get affordable loans from banks for property improvements that make their commercial buildings more energy efficient. These improvements include upgrading anything from water heaters and HVAC systems to lighting to water management to all things infrastructure (doors, windows, roof, insulation) to solar panels and wind turbines and more!

These improvements make the buildings more energy efficient so they have less of an impact on the environment. Property owners are spending no extra money because their energy savings goes into paying their loan off, and all the while the environment is protected! So, basically, PACE is a win-win situation for property owners and the environment!

As a business management major and environmental science and policy (ENSP) minor, I was so excited to find this internship. In our ENSP classes, we learn about the triple bottom line: economic, environmental, and social factors. These factors encompass sustainability and determine our success of achieving it. Thus, when approaching sustainability, we have to take all of these factors into consideration. Unfortunately, we don’t see this being done enough. Business is seen as the environment’s enemy, and rightfully so, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What TPA does is the perfect example of that.

Through PACE, what’s good for people is what’s good for the planet. The more creative solutions that align the needs of the triple bottom line to find a mutually beneficial solution, the better chance we have at creating a more sustainable world. I am grateful to be working at a place that is serving our community and making a positive impact.

So, where do I fit in all of this? As a project management intern, I am responsible for multiple projects and assess the changing priorities of each to ensure all of my tasks are completed on time. The two projects I am currently responsible for are PACE in the news and updating our Program Guide.

At TPA, we are always looking for ways to expand the use of PACE, so it’s helpful to know how PACE is helping the community across the country, especially in Texas. I compile relevant articles about PACE, like historical building renovations happening under PACE or large corporate buildings utilizing PACE. The more people using PACE, the better!

Our Program Guide is the go-to manual for how to complete a PACE project, from initial eligibility to securing funds to breaking ground to completing the projects. My job was to bring a new perspective to make the guide as easily understood as possible. I didn’t have many suggestions because the team did such a great job!

I added in two infographics to make a lot of information on our processes more easily digestible. You can see those infographics below:

My daily tasks include checking my email, corresponding with my supervisor and other team members, attending team meetings when necessary, and working on the above projects. My next project will be creating the format for an exam for service providers to take to receive certification of their knowledge for designing/installing PACE projects. The other project is researching local Texas government’s websites who have adopted PACE to see whether or not they post any statistics from PACE improvements, also known as PACE resolutions.

I was surprised to find out that a small number of governments or anyone with a PACE project share that they’ve used PACE. I thought with all the energy savings, both financially and energy wise, that property owners and governments would be boasting about them! Thus, this project’s objective is outreach to understand if there’s a reason they aren’t posting about it, and see if we can encourage them to share their savings. The more people know about PACE and all of its benefits, the more governments and property owners will adopt it!

Below is an example of a PACE project in Travis County:





Check out our website for more information! If you know a property owner or have any suggestions for a public, commercial property to be a PACE project, please let me know! You can email me at aimani@stedwards.edu

It’s an honor to have the opportunity to learn about the business behind sustainability at Texas PACE Authority. I am proud to be a part of a cause that is helping both people and the planet. I am looking forward to furthering their cause and seeing what this amazing team can accomplish!

Thank you for reading 🙂


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