SOLANA BEACH, Calif., Sept. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Supervisor Dave Roberts takes pride in the appearance of his home. And as one of San Diego County's elected leaders, he's also keenly aware of the need for all San Diegans to do their part to reduce water use in light of California's extended drought. The combination of these two factors, plus the availability of new tools and incentives for San Diego homeowners to invest in water-saving measures, led Roberts to take a bold step this week: he removed 6,000 square feet of lawn and replaced it with artificial turf.
Artificial turf typically reduces water use by 44 gallons per square foot. For Supervisor Roberts, that translates into 264,000 gallons a year in reduced water demand – which is a significant reduction in a region where ever drop counts.
"Up until now, I've been doing my part by following recommended watering schedules," noted Supervisor Roberts. "But I realized that I could, and should, do more to permanently reduce my home's water footprint. Between new incentives available to residents who are willing to replace thirsty lawns with lower-water alternatives and affordable financing through the HERO Program, making the switch to artificial turf was an easy choice for me and my family."
San Diego County residents are now eligible for a $2/square foot rebate when they remove traditional lawns and replace them with a drought-tolerant alternative, which could range from gravel to drought-tolerant landscaping to artificial turf.
San Diego County now offers HERO Financing to local property owners. HERO is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which means that property owners can make energy- and water-saving improvements to their properties and pay for the investments over time through an additional assessment on their property tax bill. HERO is privately funded and requires no cost outlays by participating communities. Because San Diego County recently adopted HERO, Supervisor Roberts was able to secure financing through the program, which makes the cost of the project manageable.
"One of the great things about having HERO available in our community is that it brings energy- and water-saving improvements within financial reach for a lot of property owners who have dreamed of cutting down on water use or going solar, but may have been unable to afford making these types of large-scale improvements," added Roberts. "And by bringing these investments within financial reach for more homeowners, HERO has a strong track record of spurring job growth in the construction sector in areas where the program is available."
The HERO Program has helped to create more than 2,400 jobs in California since its launch in December 2011. The program has been adopted by 185 communities in California and helped to fund 13,000 residential projects, totaling more than $240 million in financing.
A wide variety of efficiency products are available to property owners through the HERO Program. Some of HERO's most popular products include water-saving technologies, solar power panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows and doors, roofing and insulation. HERO also has more than 50 product lines to help homeowners save water during this extended drought, including high efficiency toilets, faucets and showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; as well as artificial turf and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Participation in HERO is 100-percent voluntary for both local government agencies and property owners, and is cost neutral for jurisdictions. A growing number of California cities and counties are partnering with multiple PACE providers to increase financing choices available to consumers. 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.
For more information, please visit www.heroprogram.com.
SOURCE HERO Program