New form of financing provided to help residents install artificial turf, water-efficient appliances, solar, HVAC, energy-saving windows, water-saving technologies and more; Payments are made through property taxes.
Los Angeles County and 84 cities within have officially launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which enables homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and pay them off through their property tax bill. Property owners repay the assessment over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, and homeowners see immediate savings on electric and water utility bills. The HERO Program was one of two administrators selected by Los Angeles County earlier this year through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
“The HERO Program is helping cities across Los Angeles County reduce water use and harness renewable energy,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The City of Los Angeles is proud to drive the creation of local green jobs, and help local residents save water and money on their utility bills.”
The HERO Program has now been adopted by 315 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, including: 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 is now available to 10 million households in California. It has helped fund more than 32,500 residential efficiency projects, totaling more than $630 million in financing. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for contractor services. In this way, HERO has helped to create 5,370 jobs in CA since beginning in earnest in December 2011.
“The HERO Program has enabled our company to hire more people for high-quality, local jobs; the Program also allows us to serve our customers better,” said Ron Eshel, President of Reliance Home Services, Inc.
Jeff Williams of JW Heating and Air, Inc. agrees, adding that, “Because of HERO, homeowners can afford to invest in much more efficient heating and air conditioning systems that better serve their long-term needs in terms of increased efficiency, comfort and lower utility bills. HERO provides great benefits for homeowners, contractors and the environment.”
Forty-seven cities within LA County have launched HERO over the past year, with over 2,000 projects already completed for more than $45 million in financing. Thirty-seven additional cities have now launched the Program along with the unincorporated areas of the County.
Participating cities include Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Artesia, Avalon, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Beverly Hills, Bradbury, Burbank, Calabasas, Carson, Claremont, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Culver City, Diamond Bar, Downey, Duarte, El Monte, El Segundo, Gardena, Glendale, Glendora, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Huntington Park, Industry, Inglewood, Irwindale, La Canada Flintridge, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, La Verne, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lawndale, Lomita, Long Beach, the City of Los Angeles, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Norwalk, Palmdale, Palos Verdes Estates, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Marino, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Temple City, Torrance, Walnut, West Covina, West Hollywood and Whittier.
“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.”
HERO leads the industry with their proactive consumer protection policy. HERO requires participating contractors to undergo rigorous training aimed at ensuring customers are fully informed about the costs and benefits of the Program. Funding for projects is made available to the contractor only after the homeowner has indicated full satisfaction with and completion of the project. HERO also staffs a hotline to respond to homeowner queries that is available for 15 hours each day. In a recent survey, 96% of more than 2,000 participants in the Program said they would recommend HERO to a relative or friend.
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% voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The Program is cost neutral to participating local governments.