Marin County, Fairfax and San Anselmo approve innovative program to help homeowners conserve water and energy

Financing helps residents install drought-tolerant landscaping, water-efficient appliances, solar panels, HVAC, energy-saving windows and more; payments made through property taxes, interest is tax-deductible

HERO adopted by 330 CA jurisdictions, more than $774m in funded projects, 6,600 jobs created

Aug 11, 2015, 16:48 ET from HERO Program

MARIN, Calif., Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Marin County Board of Supervisors, as well as the City Councils of Fairfax and San Anselmo, have voted to make the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program available to local residents. HERO PACE financing enables homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and pay for them over time through their property tax bill. Interest is tax-deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on utility bills. Residents of Fairfax, San Anselmo, and the unincorporated areas of the county may begin submitting applications for HERO later this year.

Given the State of California's recently-adopted regulations aimed at reducing urban water consumption by 25 percent, PACE financing is a particularly appealing option for homeowners and for municipalities.

"Between the extended drought and rising energy costs, property owners are eager to make the types of investments HERO supports," said Blair McNeill, Vice President of Community Development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. "We're happy to provide an avenue for financing that requires no money down and does not depend on personal credit, bringing efficiency improvements within reach for a broad range of homeowners."  

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. HERO has a wide variety of products to help homeowners save water, including high-efficiency toilets, faucets and showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; and artificial turf and drought-tolerant landscaping. 

A wide variety of energy-saving products are available through HERO as well. 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.

The HERO Program's success rests in its extensive contractor network. When a homeowner faces unexpected and inevitable repairs such as a broken water heater or leaking roof, HERO-qualified contractors can steer their customers toward more efficient upgrades. Bringing HERO into the process has many advantages for the homeowner. Homeowners can select a truly efficient product for their repair since they don't have to put down large amounts of money upfront; they then enjoy immediate savings on water and/or energy bills. Cities and counties benefit through economic stimulus and local job growth, while helping their communities reach state-imposed water and energy savings goals.

HERO now serves over 10 million households in California. HERO has helped fund more than 39,000 residential efficiency projects totaling more than $774 million in financing in California. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for local contractor services. HERO is estimated to have spurred the creation of almost 6,600 jobs in California since beginning in December 2011.

HERO's ongoing contribution to the environment is significant – and growing daily.  An estimated 5.3 billion KwHs of energy are already being saved by projects completed to date.  This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 33,000 homes' energy use for a year. Water-efficiency projects HERO has helped finance to date will save 1.2 billion gallons of water, or the equivalent of 39 million showers.

The HERO Program has now been adopted by 330 communities in California, in 34 counties. HERO's success in California is part of a national trend, with PACE programs now flourishing in more than 30 states. The new financing model is quickly becoming a cornerstone of America's push for cleaner power and energy independence.

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 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. Taking part in the HERO Program is 100% voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments.

For more information please visit www.HeroProgram.com. To schedule interviews with local HERO representatives, elected officials, homeowners, or contractors, or for a media kit, please contact Severn Williams at 510-336-9566, or sev@publicgoodpr.com.

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SOURCE HERO Program



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