In an effort to combat the drought and help residents reduce energy use, the City of Riverbank has officially launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which enables homeowners and commercial property owners to pay off energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax bill.
A wide variety of energy- and water-saving products are available through the HERO Program, including whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, solar power panel installations, energy-saving windows, doors and roofing, and insulation. Property owners repay the assessment over five, 10, 15 or 20 years through their property tax bill. Interest is tax deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on electric and water utility bills.
“HERO will help Riverbank save water and energy and enable local homeowners to make immediate efficiency-improvements to their homes,” said Matt Messina, HERO Community Development Manager. “Based on our experience in other communities, we also expect HERO to create local jobs by increasing demand for construction services.”
HERO already has more than $4.9 million in approved applications for projects in other Stanislaus County communities. Modesto, Newman, Oakdale, Turlock and Waterford launched HERO earlier this year. Hughson voted to adopt HERO this fall, and is scheduled to launch the program in spring 2015.
As California’s drought drags on, HERO-eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to lower their water bill and conserve a desperately-needed resource.
HERO has more than 50 product lines to help homeowners save water, 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.
In addition to helping homeowners save on energy and water bills, HERO spurs local job creation by increasing demand for contractor services. The HERO Program has helped to create more than 3,000 local jobs in California since its launch in December 2011. The program has been adopted by 206 communities in California and helped to fund more than 20,000 residential projects, totaling more than $375 million in financing.
Taking part in the HERO Program is 100 percent voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments. In a recent survey, 95 percent of more than 2,000 participants in the Program said they would recommend HERO to a friend.
Cities and counties need only pass a resolution in order to make PACE programs like HERO available to local property owners. The HERO program has received 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.