By Staff Reports
(Barstow) – In an effort to combat the drought and help residents reduce energy use, the City of Barstow has officially launched the HERO Program, which enables homeowners and commercial property owners to pay off energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax bill.
A wide variety of energy- and water-saving products are available through the HERO Program, including whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, solar power panel installations, energy-saving windows, doors and roofing, and insulation. Property owners repay the assessment over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years through their property tax bill. Interest is tax deductible and homeowners see immediate savings on utility bills.
“HERO will enable the City of Barstow to save water and energy, and enable local homeowners to make immediate efficiency-improvements to their homes,” said Liza Gray, HERO Community Development Manager. “Based on our experience in other communities, we also expect HERO to create local jobs by increasing demand for construction services.”
As California’s drought drags on, HERO-eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to lower their water bill and conserve a desperately-needed resource. From high-efficiency plumbing fixtures – like low-flow toilets that save approximately 16,000 gallons of water each year – to rotating sprinkler nozzles (which save up to 20% over traditional spray sprinkler models) or artificial turf, there are many options available to reduce water use without making vast lifestyle chances.
Barstow joins the County of San Bernardino and 23 other cities that make up the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), which adopted the HERO program in the fall of 2013: Adelanto, Apple Valley, Big Bear Lake, Chino, Chino Hills, Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Highland, Loma Linda, Montclair, Needles, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, Twentynine Palms, Upland, Victorville, Yucaipa, and Yucca Valley. HERO has helped to create more than 2,400 jobs in California since the program began in December 2011, and that number is expected to grow.
HERO is one of several Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs active in California communities. Communities where multiple PACE financing companies are active often see the highest levels of property owner participation. Taking part in the HERO Program is 100% voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments. All registered contractors are provided with a comprehensive training program to ensure they provide excellent service and accurate information to customers.
HERO is the largest residential PACE program in California, financing 95% of all residential PACE projects in the state with a total of $240 million financed to date. Cities and counties need only pass a resolution in order to make PACE programs like HERO available to local property owners. The HERO program has received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in California, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best, and the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Excellence. 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).