When officials in Ceres, Modesto, Turlock, and the other cities within Stanislaus County voted to adopt the HERO program, their goal was to help local homeowners make energy and efficiency upgrades that could reduce utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions while creating local clean-energy jobs.
The program is clearly working.
Through their partnerships with the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, cities have now passed the milestone of 3,000 home renovation projects for energy efficiency, water efficiency or solar power, supporting more than 250 regional jobs.
"The City of Ceres is always looking for innovative ways to assist our homeowners in saving water with the most efficient products, and the HERO program is definitely focused on that same mission," said Loretta Webb, Water Resource Analyst for the city's Water Division. "The city is pleased with the HERO partnership and pleased to announce a running total of 120 homes renovated within our city limits."
Over 120 homeowners have utilized the HERO program to make energy efficiency, solar and water conservation improvements to their homes. Those projects generated over $3.5 million in local economic stimulus and are estimated to save those homeowners $3.25 million in energy bill savings over their lifetime.
Ceres residents are just beginning to use the program to save water, but already the water projects completed, like turf installations, will save more than 1.8 million gallons of water over their lifetime.
The financing option is available in all incorporated cities within Stanislaus County.
HERO projects have now been completed in 1,577 homes for $29 million in funding. The financing option enables homeowners to make energy and efficiency improvements and to pay for them over time through their property tax bill. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for local contractor services that cannot be outsourced or automated.
In Modesto alone, renovations have been completed in almost 1,000 homes through the HERO financing program, reducing regional carbon emissions, and energy and water use.
"We approved this program in Modesto expecting big things for our area," said Modesto Councilman Tony Madrigal. "It's great to see so many residents in Modesto and elsewhere in Stanislaus County improving their homes' efficiency. The program has created many local jobs and has really helped bring the green economy to Modesto."
The resources saved through HERO-financed efficiency upgrades are significant. On average, for every 1,000 homes that complete HERO-financed efficiency upgrades, carbon emissions saved are equivalent to taking 8,500 cars off the road for a year; energy saved is equivalent to powering 13,800 homes for one year; and water saved is equivalent to 2.7 million showers.
Stanislaus County is working to reduce energy and water consumption in partnership with local utility companies. For example, the Modesto Irrigation District offers residents rebates for upgrading to more energy and water efficient appliances. Pacific Gas & Electric serves Stanislaus County, and offers residents rebates for upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances.
"PACE financing gives homeowners an innovative way to access improvements such as new windows and doors, high-efficiency HVAC systems, water-efficient landscaping and even rooftop solar, and it's clearly working," said Robert Bendorf, HERO Community Engagement Manager. "Owners of these renovated homes are reaping the benefits."
Because of the public-private nature of the program, HERO offers significant additional consumer safeguards not found with other forms of home-improvement financing. In addition, through HERO Property Advisors, the program provides assistance free of charge to real estate professionals involved in selling or refinancing properties with active HERO financing.
Residents interested in HERO financing for their homes are invited to visit www.HeroProgram.com.