San Bernardino HERO Program Funds $267 Million in Home Efficiency Projects; 2267 local jobs created

HERO_Logo_RED_RGB By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley) – Representatives of the local HERO program announced that more than $267 million in home energy and water efficiency and renewal energy projects have been funded in San Bernardino, creating 2267 local jobs. HERO PACE enables homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and to pay for them over time through their property tax bill. Since the program launched in San Bernardino in October of 2013, 12,500 local homes have completed efficiency projects with HERO financing.

“The HERO Program serves as an engine of economic growth in San Bernardino,” said Blair McNeill, Vice President of Community Development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. “The program has a proven track record of creating jobs while helping communities reach their emissions and water use reduction targets.”

HERO is available to residents of all cities within San Bernardino County, as well as to residents of unincorporated areas.

Improving Home Efficiency: Reducing Emissions, Conserving Water

PACE was approved by the California legislature to help achieve important environmental public policy objectives. The $267 million in efficiency projects financed in San Bernardino through HERO to date will save $528 million on energy and water bills, conserve 1.85 billion kWh of electricity, reduce emissions by 516,000 tons (the equivalent of taking 98,470 SUVs off the road for a year), and save 691 million gallons of water (the equivalent of 22 million showers) over the lifetime of the products. Statewide, utility bill savings are $2.88 billion, with 2.8 million tons of emissions reduced and 5.2 billion gallons of water saved.

Creating Local Jobs

By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for local contractor services. HERO is estimated to have spurred the creation of 14,000 jobs in communities throughout California since December 2011. HERO has provided $1.66 billion in financing to date for efficiency upgrades.

A New Form of Financing for Home Improvements

PACE addresses 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 still select the least-efficient product. These products end up being more expensive when taking into account the total cost of ownership and energy or water costs. PACE makes it easier for homeowners to select more efficient solutions and converts the moment when a homeowner needs to replace or upgrade a failing system into an opportunity to upgrade a community’s housing stock.

PACE finances 100 percent of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay; the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 20 years, spreading costs out over time; and PACE keeps other existing credit sources available to help meet goals and emergencies. The White House recently highlighted the PACE model as a top priority of its Clean Energy Savings for All initiative. The White House policy places special emphasis on expanding access to this innovative financing model to more Americans, including more low-income homeowners.

Highest Level of Consumer Protections in Home Improvement Industry

As a partner with local government, PACE financing includes additional requirements to protect consumers not found in other payment options like credit cards or home equity loans. For example, the HERO Program will only pay a contractor after the homeowner signs off that the job has been completed to their satisfaction. Contractors must be licensed with the state and in good standing with HERO; all required permits must be submitted; products and labor must meet fair pricing standards; and homeowners must use products certified as efficient by the U.S. Department of Energy or water-conserving by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Products aimed at improving energy efficiency and renewable energy are available through HERO. 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.

California is now in its fifth year of drought. HERO financing is available to pay for a wide variety of products to help homeowners cut down on water use, including drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; and artificial turf and other drought-tolerant landscaping.

The HERO Program has now been adopted by 426 communities in California, within 47 counties. HERO’s success in California is part of a national trend, with PACE programs now enabled in more than 30 states. HERO has received numerous awards, including 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. In March, HERO was awarded the U.S. Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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