During last week’s regular city council meeting, the council voted to make the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program available to local residents. HERO PACE financing enables homeowners to make energy and water efficiency improvements and pay for them over time through their property tax bill. HERO payments may have tax benefits and homeowners may see immediate savings on utility bills.
Corcoran residents may begin submitting applications to HERO this summer.
“The HERO program partners with the public sector to support a program with strong consumer protections and local economic and environmental impact—at no cost to taxpayers,” said Blair McNeill, vice president of community development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO program. “The program has been proven to create jobs, while helping communities reach their emmisions and water use reduction targets. With HERO, a broad range of homeowners can be a part of the climate change solution, while making their homes more safe and comfortable and potentially cutting energy and water bills.”
Kings County is expected to launch this innovative financing program this week for residents in the unincorporated areas. Hanford and Lemoore are already participating. To date, HERO has financed $2.1 million for 114 projects in both cities, creating a local economic stimulus of $3.6 million.
HERO has helped fund residential efficiency projects in more than 59,000 households in California, totaling $1.4 billion in financing. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO program increases demand for local contractor services. HERO is estimated to have spurred the creation of more than 11,800 jobs in California since the beginning of December, 2011. Cities and counties benefit through economic stimulus and local job growth while helping their communities reach state-imposed water and energy savings goals.
California is still in a state of drought, despite the winter’s El Nino. Eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to conserve water. HERO has a wide variety of products to help homeowners cut down on water use, including high efficiency toilets, faucets and shower heads, drip irrigation systems, rainwater catchment systems, gray water systems and artificial turf and other drought tolerant landscaping.
A wide variety of energy saving products are available through HERO as well. Some of HERO’s most popular products include solar power panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy saving windows and doors and roofing and insulation.
PACE has been adopted to address a problem conventional financing products have not solved. Each year, several million homes in the U.S. will have systems replaced that affect energy or water consumption—such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), windows, roofs and water heaters—in most cases because existing products are failing. Unfortunately, the majority of homeowners are not sure how long they are going to stay in their homes. These solutions end up being the most expensive when taking into account the total cost of ownership when energy or water costs are factored in.
The HERO program provides crucial new options for homeowners to choose more efficient improvements. PACE finances 100 percent of the home improvements, requiring no upfront cash outlay, the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 20 years, lowering the size of the payments, and collection is conducted through regular property tax payments. The products installed must meet federal and state efficiency standards, potentially enabling homeowners to lower monthly utility bills and help pay for the cost of the improvements over time.
PACE was also designed to help archive public policy objectives. The $1.4 billion financed through HERO to date are projected to save $2.46 billion in energy bills, conserve 8.96 billion kWh of electricity, reduces emissions by 2.4 million tons (the equivalent of taking 464,000 SUVs off the road for a year) and save 3.8 billion gallons of water. HERO has already generated a local economic impact of more than $2.4 billion in California.
For more information, visit www.HeroProgram.com