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Ceres opens up water- and energy-efficiency HERO Program for homeowners
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The Ceres City Council has launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, allowing for financing to homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and pay for them through their property tax bill. Property owners repay the assessment over five to 20 years while obtaining immediate savings on utility bills.

Residents of Ceres may now submit applications for HERO financing.

Given the state's newly-adopted regulations aimed at reducing urban water consumption by 25 percent, PACE financing is becoming a particularly appealing option for homeowners looking to conserve water in their yards and homes.

Ceres joins seven other cities in Stanislaus County in offering HERO to their residents, including Modesto, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Riverbank, Turlock and Waterford. All told, over 130,000 households in the county now have access to this innovative financing program, which in the last year and a half has already generated more than $16 million in economic activity in Stanislaus County. Patterson recently voted to approve the program and will be launching in the coming months.

"The HERO program has a strong track record when it comes to helping homeowners finance water and energy-saving projects in California," said Ceres City Councilmember Mike Kline. "We are pleased to offer the program to residents of Ceres; it offers an affordable way to install the latest efficiency products and lower utility bills."

HERO has a wide variety of products to help homeowners save water, 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, including solar panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling systems, energy-saving windows and doors, roofing and insulation.

HERO has helped fund more than 43,000 residential efficiency projects totaling more than $877 million in financing in California. 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 7,400 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.

HERO's ongoing contribution to the environment is significant and growing daily. Water-efficiency projects that HERO has helped finance to date will save 1.4 billion gallons of water, or the equivalent of 44 million showers. An estimated 5.7 billion kWhs of energy are already being saved by projects completed to date. This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 35,000 homes' energy use for a year.

"This is a great opportunity for homeowners who want to go solar, or install other efficiency products, but who couldn't previously finance the up-front costs." said Blair McNeill, Vice President of Community Development for Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. "With HERO these up-front financing barriers are removed."

To learn more about the HERO Financing Program, and to apply, property owners can or call 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411).