RIVERSIDE, Calif., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Momentum continues to grow for the HERO Financing Program, which allows homeowners in Western Riverside County to finance home energy and water efficiency improvements through their property taxes. The Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) today announced that $50 million in home energy retrofits have been financed since the Program was launched in December 2011. The size of the Program has increased rapidly, with half of the total dollars financed through HERO since July alone. With $325 million to be invested, WRCOG expects the HERO Program to create as many as 4,000 jobs and save about 15 million kilowatt-hours in the area.
"The rapid expansion of the HERO Financing Program shows us that this is the right program at the right time for western Riverside County residents," said City of Calimesa Council Member Jim Hyatt, who also chairs WRCOG. "Homeowners are ready to make these investments, and convenient access to affordable financing encourages them to make their properties more energy and water efficient."
HERO financing is designed to make it easier for property owners to make efficiency upgrades that save resources and lower utility bills while stimulating demand for construction services in the area. Contractors that register with the Program can help homeowners apply for HERO Financing, creating a one-stop approach to energy efficiency upgrades for consumers. Many contractors have found that offering HERO financing gives them a competitive advantage. To date, nearly 400 contractors in Riverside County have registered with the Program.
"HERO financing has been a huge part of the growth my business has seen over the past few months. After years of having customers make upgrades only when absolutely necessary, I have been pleasantly surprised to see homeowners coming out of the woodwork to make the changes they have long dreamed about," said Glen Rusche with Synergy Companies, Inc.
The WRCOG HERO Program is developed around the principles established by AB 811, which allows private property owners to pay for permanently affixed energy and water efficient products and renewable energy systems over time through their property taxes. These improvements are paid for as an assessment on the property itself. The Program is managed and funded by Renovate America. Renovate America provides a turnkey system to local governments that makes the financing process seamless and allows the HERO Program to run with no general fund impact.
HERO-eligible products range from Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems and insulation to water heating to solar systems. The HERO Financing Program leverages home equity to secure the property owner's investment in energy efficient improvements. A homeowner's FICO score is not a factor in determining eligibility, but there must be at least 10% equity available in the property to qualify. Payments are made over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years and interest is tax deductible. If the property is sold before all payments are complete, the remaining balance can transfer to the new owner's property tax bills.
"I have hired more employees since registering with HERO," said Michael Lewis with Ameristar Windows. "People seem to be jumping at the chance to make their homes more comfortable now that they can access affordable financing to pay for the improvements."
To learn more about the WRCOG's Property Assessed Clean Energy HERO Program, go to http://wrcog.herofinancing.com or call 1-855-HERO-411. Contractors and consumers can apply online or over the phone. For additional information about the HERO Program, please contact Barbara Spoonhour, WRCOG Program Manager, at (951) 955-8313 or at Spoonhour@wrcog.cog.ca.us.
WRCOG is a joint powers authority, formed under State law, and its actions and activities are guided by its members. Recognizing that issues related to growth are not constrained by city or county boundaries, WRCOG focuses on a number of regional matters important to the future of Western Riverside County. By working together through its committee structure and utilizing existing resources, WRCOG is cost-effective by reducing duplication of effort and sharing information, enabling strong advocacy and strengthening Western Riverside County's standing in southern California and the State. Today, WRCOG's program areas are as varied and diverse as the subregion itself, ranging from transportation to air quality, solid waste, environment, energy, economy, and growth.
For more information about the Western Riverside Council of Governments and the various programs administered by the Agency please visit www.wrcog.cog.ca.us.
About HERO and Renovate America
Renovate America provides homeowners with low cost, long term HERO Financing for renewable energy systems and energy and water efficient products. The HERO Financing Program has received a number of awards, including the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) President's Award for Excellence, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Best of the Best, and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) California Top 10 Green Building Policies.
SOURCE Renovate America