100,000 Homes Improved With PACE Financing
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Energy- and water-saving improvements financed through HERO have created more than 20,000 jobs, and are on track to save homeowners billions on utility bills.
Renovate America, a leading U.S. provider of home-improvement financing, announced today that more than 100,000 homeowners have improved their homes with projects saving energy and water through its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing option, HERO.
HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, empowers homeowners to make energy efficiency, water saving and renewable energy home improvements and to pay for them at a fixed interest rate over time through an additional line item on their property taxes. HERO financing payments may have tax benefits, and many property owners who use HERO to finance home improvements see immediate savings on their utility bills.
AnneMarie Provancha and husband Lamar Brown of San Diego, decided in 2015 to use HERO to finance a combination of energy and water-saving improvements to their 1960s-style ranch home, including windows, HVAC, solar, turf and an instant hot water heater. They estimate that they are saving around $7,000 a year on electricity. "HERO allowed us to renovate our home, while saving us money, and contributing to the planet," said Annemarie, the 7,527th HERO customer. "The HERO team was very helpful and thorough, so we felt supported throughout the home improvement process. Now, we are closer than we have ever been to our perfect home."
"HERO saved the day for me – twice," said Laura May Booker of Bakersfield, Calif., HERO customer number 67,485. "The first time was when I learned I'd need to replace my shake roof in order to qualify for fire insurance. HERO allowed me replace my roof with an energy-efficient one and spread the payments out over several years. I was so pleased with the experience that later, when my roommate fell ill and required hospice care, I turned to HERO to improve my home with an energy-efficient air-conditioner so that she could be comfortable in her final days."
The HERO-financed improvements completed to date are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 4 million tons over the useful life of the installed products – equivalent to taking 750,000 cars off the road for a year. Water-efficiency improvements financed through HERO are on track to save more than 9.5 billion gallons of water. That's enough to hydrate every person on Earth for a day, with enough water left over to fill more than 4,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
PACE financing options, like HERO, stimulate home renovation activity, which increases demand for local contractor services and brings more money into the local economy. As a result, HERO supports the creation of thousands of regional jobs, many of which are in the local construction sector, and cannot be automated or offshored.
"When we partnered with Renovate America, we saw HERO as a way to help our communities bounce back from the economic downturn, put people back to work, improve our local housing stock and reduce energy and water consumption," said Rick Bishop, Executive Director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments. "To see that HERO is achieving these objectives is proof positive that this public-private partnership is effectively delivering real solutions."
Renovate America CEO J.P. McNeill said the 100,000-home milestone is an opportunity not just to celebrate but also to reflect on what the company has learned. He noted that although the company started out with the goal of financing solutions to save homeowners water and energy, it became clear early on that the real challenge was improving home improvement. "When you're in the business of sustainability, sustainable business practices are vital, and that includes financially sustainable for individuals and families improving one of their most valuable investments, their homes. For us, putting the homeowner at the center of everything we do is key to improving home improvement and building a business that can grow responsibly," he said.
PACE financing like HERO offers consumer safeguards that meet and go beyond those found with other forms of home-improvement financing. HERO's Contractor Quality Rating system helps ensure homeowners are working contractors who have good performance records — as well as being licensed, bonded, or insured — a service not offered by other payment options. To help homeowners easily understand their financing terms before they finalize their contracts, all residential PACE providers in California must provide homeowners with written disclosures modeled on the federal "Know-Before-You-Owe" forms for mortgage lending. HERO also requires a live phone call with a HERO representative to confirm understanding of not just financing terms and household budget implications, but also that utility savings may not meet expectations set by the contractor. In addition, HERO contractors must have an active license and be in good standing with relevant state licensing boards – as well as maintain insurance and an ability to meet bonding requirements. If there are homeowner complaints, PACE providers proactively work with contractors to resolve them.
Read more about energy efficient home remodeling.