Berkeley this week officially launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which enables homeowners and commercial property owners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and pay them off through their property tax bill.
“Berkeley may be a small city, but we embrace big ideas,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington. “We were one of the first places in the nation to embrace PACE in order to promote energy and water efficiency. And now we’re proud to add HERO to the PACE financing options available to Berkeley residents.”
Also in Alameda County, Albany launched HERO last winter. Property owners repay the assessment over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. Interest is tax-deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on electric and water utility bills.
“Homeowners know that investing in energy and water efficiency saves money in the long run. Now most homeowners can access affordable financing to make these efficiency upgrades,” said Blair McNeill, Vice President of Community Development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. “HERO is helping homeowners realize tomorrow’s energy efficient future today.”
The HERO Program has now been adopted by 290 communities in California. HERO’s success in California is part of a national trend, with PACE programs now flourishing in 31 states. The new financing model is quickly becoming a cornerstone of America’s push for cleaner power and energy independence.
A wide variety of energy-saving products are available through HERO. These include solar panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows and doors, roofing and insulation. As California’s drought drags on, eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to lower their water bill and conserve a desperately needed resource with products ranging from high-efficiency toilets to drought-tolerant landscaping.
HERO now serves 10 million households in California. It has helped fund more than 28,000 residential efficiency projects, totaling more than $550 million in financing. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO program increases demand for contractor services. In this way, HERO has helped to create 4,700 jobs in CA since beginning in earnest in December 2011.
Cities and counties need only pass a resolution in order to make PACE programs like HERO available to local property owners. The program has received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best and the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Excellence.
Taking part in the HERO Program is 100 percent voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments.
To learn more about the HERO Financing Program, and to apply, property owners can visit www.HEROProgram.com or call 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411).