EPA Recognizes The HERO Program As An Innovative Partnership

HERO and Its California Government Partners - WRCOG, SANBAG, and LA County- Awarded U.S. Climate Leadership Certificate

Mar 09, 2016, 13:54 ET from Renovate America

SEATTLE, March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Renovate America, the leading provider of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in the U.S, and its government partners today were awarded the U.S. Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The national award recognizes organizations working collaboratively on leading edge climate initiatives which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Three government authorities– the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG), the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) and the County of Los Angeles – are being recognized for their work with Renovate America to offer the HERO (the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) Program to cities across California. HERO enables homeowners to finance home improvement projects which increase energy-efficiency, the use of renewable energy and water conservation.

"I am proud to distinguish the HERO Program for its outstanding actions and dedication to reduce harmful carbon pollution that leads to climate change," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "The HERO Program is leading the way towards a healthy environment, and demonstrates that meeting challenges of a changing climate can be done."

The nearly 55,000 households in California that have completed HERO projects have contributed to the creation of more than 11,000 local clean energy jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and saving water. The HERO Program has built a powerful platform that brings together Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, extraordinary consumer protections developed with government partners, more than 5,000 home improvement contractors, and a tech-enabled underwriting and product approval process.  The HERO platform enables more than 1 million EPA- and DOE-rated efficient products to be selected if PACE financing is chosen, converting the moment when a homeowner needs to replace or upgrade a failing system into an opportunity to make our housing sector more efficient.

HERO requires no upfront cash, and allows property owners to pay the financing back at a fixed interest rate through their property taxes.  Approvals are based on equity in the home and a proven track record on mortgage and tax payments, but are not FICO score-driven.  Terms can last as long as the useful life of the product, allowing for lower annualized costs of financing, while potentially lowering utility bills.  Additionally, any remaining balance may be able to transfer to the new owner when the home is sold, under PACE law.

While more than 380 municipalities play key roles in guiding HERO at the local level, the three government partners being recognized are fundamental to the program's operation, as they developed and brought the program to market. The main partners formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and a local government program to allow any city in California to join HERO and realize the program's many environmental and economic benefits. The partners continue to provide key input, including the development of comprehensive consumer protections, crafting eligible product guidelines, and adjusting program policies in response to market feedback.

"We are proud to have launched HERO four years ago, and helped it spread to more communities," said Rick Bishop, Executive Director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG). "The HERO-financed projects undertaken in just the past four years will result in over 2.28 million tons of reduced emissions and almost 3.3 billion gallons of water saved, while lowering operating costs for homeowners. These environmental impacts are critical to the climate policy objectives of local governments, and represent just the beginning of what can be achieved through residential energy efficiency."

"Los Angeles County has only been part of the HERO Program since June of last year, and we have seen it dramatically accelerate energy and water upgrades to our housing stock," said Howard Choy, General Manager, Office of Sustainability, Los Angeles County. "HERO stimulates private investment in home energy upgrades that have public benefits for both our environment and our economy. Small businesses are expanding and new local clean energy jobs are being created."

"The HERO Program brings the private sector together with public policy goals in a very innovative way, at no cost to taxpayers," said Duane Baker, Deputy Executive Director, San Bernardino Associated Governments. "Inherent in this innovative public-private partnership is a very high bar for upholding the public trust.  We worked with HERO to enact strong consumer protections so that homeowners are fully supported and protected as they work with independent contractors to make significant investments in their homes."

"Our government partners took an innovative approach towards encouraging homeowners to make improvements that reduce emissions and water consumption, while creating jobs and protecting consumers," said J.P. McNeill, CEO of Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. "The HERO Program is a replicable and scalable solution with almost unlimited potential to help communities across the country, and we will be expanding it into new states this year."

The EPA Innovative Partnerships Certificate recognizes partnerships that have collectively established objectives to measurably address greenhouse gas reduction goals and/or adaptation and resilience activities. HERO and its government partners earned the award based on multiple criteria, including demonstration of innovation, thought leadership, public benefit, and replicability. The awards take place during the Climate Leadership Conference (CLC) in Seattle, WA, which seeks to address global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA)'s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards with two NGO partners—the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR), as part of their ongoing commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The national awards program recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change.

About the HERO Program and Renovate America
Renovate America is the fastest-growing provider of financing for energy and water efficiency home improvements in the U.S. The company's HERO Program provides local governments with a comprehensive residential PACE financing solution that also includes consumer protection, business automation software, workforce training and ongoing access to private capital.  This unique public-private partnership offers consumers access to more than 60 types of products that reduce energy and water consumption, without the need for government funding.  The HERO Program has financed more than $1.3 billion across more than 55,000 homes in California, and is partnering with the Missouri Clean Energy District to provide HERO in Missouri this spring. HERO has received a number of awards including 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.  Additional information can be found at www.renovateamerica.com and www.heroprogram.com.

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SOURCE Renovate America