Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807
January 27, 2017
HERO Program Launching in Greene County,
Nixa and Ozark to Finance Home Energy Improvements
SPRINGFIELD, Mo - Nearly 100,000 households in Greene County, along with 25,000 homeowners in the Christian County communities of Nixa and Ozark, now have access to an innovative form of home energy and efficiency financing.
The HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program enables homeowners to make energy improvements and to pay for them over time through their property tax bills. HERO financing payments may have tax benefits, and many homeowners see immediate savings on energy bills by investing in efficiency or renewable energy upgrades.
HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, is the largest residential PACE program in the United States and has already helped tens of thousands of homeowners lower energy bills by replacing HVAC systems, upgrading windows and doors, adding insulation, going solar, and more.
"By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for contractor services, creates clean-energy jobs and local economic growth," said Jeff Barber, a housing and environmental design specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Since the program first launched in Jackson County in September, it has financed more than $2 million in energy and efficiency improvements across more than 150 Missouri homes.
With the addition of Greene County and the cities of Nixa and Ozark in Christian County, one-third of all Missourians now have access to the HERO Program.
"Residential solar energy systems, especially when paired with energy efficiency upgrades, can save a homeowner energy and money," said Caleb Arthur, Founder and CEO of Missouri Sun Solar. "Upfront costs can appear daunting to a homeowner at first glance, but PACE financing enables the energy savings to balance out the cost over time."
NEW FORM OF FINANCING
The HERO Program, which is available to Missouri communities that join the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED), addresses a problem conventional financing products have not solved.
Each year, one in six homeowners replaces a system in the home that affects energy consumption. Most of the time, they choose a less efficient option based on upfront sticker price, instead of factoring in the total cost of owning and maintaining the product or system over the course of its useful life.
"Our main goal with this effort is to increase access to residential energy efficiency and renewable energy," said David Pickerill, executive director of MCED. "HERO is a great tool to help homeowners install energy solutions that can lower utility bills and make people's homes more comfortable."
HERO funds up to 100 percent of the home improvement, and HERO interest rates are fixed and competitive with other options. The term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 20 years, which spreads out the cost over time.
Interest on HERO payments may be tax-deductible, and a recent study showed homes with PACE assessments recovered 100% or more of the investment at time of resale.
The HERO Program is run by Renovate America and MCED, which works in close partnership with cities and counties. Because of the nature of the public-private partnership, HERO financing includes additional requirements to protect consumers not found in other payment options like credit cards or home equity loans.
Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing or who want to learn more should visit www.heroprogram.com online. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at https://register.renovateamerica.com/.
MU EXTENSION HELPING
The Missouri Clean Energy District is a statewide political subdivision established to provide unlimited capital to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through PACE financing. Property owners - both public and private - in member communities may apply for PACE financing for energy-saving upgrades and retrofits to their property.
Under a "Memorandum of Understanding" between the Missouri Clean Energy Funding District (www.mced.mo.gov) and the University of Missouri, MU Extension specialists are helping communities and counties take the first necessary steps to participate, by assisting passage of ordinances and resolutions that enable property owners to access to PACE funding.
Specialists like Barber also work with civic leaders, economic developers, and the business community to identify eligible properties and originate potential PACE-funded projects.
Source: Jeff Barber, (417) 874-2955; Matt Bevens of Renovate America, (619) 867-0809