Half Moon Bay Approves Innovative HERO PACE Program to Save Energy and Water

HERO adopted by 429 CA jurisdictions, $1.72B in funded projects

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif., August 17, 2016 – The City Council of Half Moon Bay has 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. HERO payments may have tax benefits, and homeowners may see immediate savings on utility bills. Residents of Half Moon Bay may begin submitting applications to HERO this winter.

“The HERO Program partners with the public sector to support a program with strong consumer protections and local economic and environmental impact—at no cost to taxpayers,” said Blair McNeill, Vice President of Community Development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. “The program has been proven to create jobs while helping communities reach their emissions and water use reduction targets. With HERO, a broad range of homeowners can be a part of the climate change solution, while making their homes more safe and comfortable and potentially cutting energy and water bills.”

Homeowners in fourteen other municipalities in San Mateo County currently have access to this innovative financing program, including Atherton, Brisbane, Burlingame, Daly City, Foster City, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Woodside, as well as the County for residents of unincorporated areas. HERO will be launching in Colma later this month, and in Portola Valley this winter.

HERO has helped fund residential efficiency projects in almost 73,000 households in California, totaling $1.72 billion in financing. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for local contractor services. HERO is estimated to have spurred the creation of more than 14,600 jobs in California since beginning in December 2011. Cities and counties benefit through economic stimulus and local job growth while helping their communities reach state-imposed water and energy savings goals.

California is now in its 5th year of drought. Eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to conserve water. HERO has a wide variety of products to help homeowners cut down on water use, including high-efficiency toilets, faucets and showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; and artificial turf and other drought-tolerant landscaping.

A wide variety of energy-saving products are available through HERO as well. Some of HERO’s most popular products include including solar power panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows and doors, and roofing and insulation.

PACE has been adopted to address a problem conventional financing products have not solved. Each year, several million homes in the U.S. will have systems replaced that affect energy or water consumption – such as Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC), windows, roofs, and water heaters – in most cases because existing products are failing. Unfortunately, the majority of homeowners still select the least-efficient solution because homeowners are not sure how long they are going to stay in their home. These solutions end up being the most expensive when taking into account the total cost of ownership when energy or water costs are factored in.

The HERO Program provides crucial new options to homeowners to choose more efficient improvements: PACE finances 100 percent of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay; the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 20 years, lowering the size of monthly payments; and collection is conducted through regular property tax payments. The products installed must meet federal and state efficiency standards, potentially enabling homeowners to lower monthly utility bills and help pay for the cost of the improvement over time.

PACE was also designed to help achieve public policy objectives. The $1.72 billion financed through HERO to date are projected to save $2.9 billion on energy bills, conserve 11 billion kWh of electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.95 million tons (the equivalent of taking 563,000 SUVs off the road for a year), and save 5.5 billion gallons of water (the equivalent of 175 million showers). HERO has already generated a local economic impact of $2.98 billion in California.

PACE enables local governments to add additional requirements to protect consumers not found in other payment options like credit cards or home equity loans. For example, the HERO Program requires contractors to be licensed with the state and in good standing with HERO, homeowners to obtain all required permits, products and labor to meet fair pricing standards, homeowners to use products certified as efficient by the U.S. Department of Energy or water-conserving by the Environmental Protection Agency, and that payment only be made when the homeowner signs off that the job has been successfully completed.

The HERO Program has now been adopted by 429 communities in California, within 48 counties. HERO’s success in California is part of a national trend, with PACE programs now enabled in more than 30 states. The White House last month held up the PACE model as a mechanism to expand access to clean energy to more homeowners. At the same time, FHA issued clear policy guidance endorsing PACE and allowing residential PACE assessments to exist concurrently with home mortgages secured by the FHA in the event of purchases and refinances.

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 numerous awards, including the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best, the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Excellence, and most recently, inclusion in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100. 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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