HERO Program Launching in Kansas City, Missouri, and Jackson County to Finance Home Energy Improvements
Starting Thursday, the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program will be available to homeowners in Jackson County and Kansas City, Missouri. HERO financing enables homeowners to make energy improvements and to pay for them over time through their property tax bill. HERO financing payments may have tax benefits, and many homeowners see immediate savings on utility 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 utility bills by replacing HVAC systems, upgrading windows and doors, adding insulation, going solar, and more. HERO is becoming available to Missouri communities that join the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED). Kansas City, Missouri, and Jackson County were among the first communities to join MCED, and their residents will have access to HERO beginning September 15. Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing or who wish to learn more should visit www.heroprogram.com.
“Kansas City wants to be a trailblazer when it comes to the clean energy economy in the state of Missouri, and that’s why we were one of the first to adopt the HERO Program,” said Kansas City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner. “The program is a tremendous opportunity for homeowners to lower their utility bills and make their homes more comfortable while boosting the local cleantech economy – all at no cost to taxpayers.” State Senator Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, was one of the original sponsors of the bi-partisan legislation approved by lawmakers in 2010 to authorize PACE financing. “It’s exciting to see an economic development and energy savings plan like PACE go into effect,” said Holsman. “This is a prime example of a public-private partnership that will provide more options for energy efficient improvements while also creating private-sector jobs and boosting home values across the state.”
A New Form of Financing For Home Improvements
The innovation at the heart of PACE programs like HERO is that the financing is tied to the property – just like the improvements themselves – and not to the property owner, so repayments are made through an owner’s property tax bills, and any remaining balance may be able to transfer to a buyer when the home is sold. The HERO Program 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. By financing only efficient solutions, HERO converts the moment when a homeowner needs to replace or upgrade a failing system into an opportunity to upgrade a community’s housing stock – meaning more American homeowners gain access to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
HERO funds 100 percent of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay, 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.
Highest Level of Consumer Protections in Home Improvement Industry
The HERO Program is run by Renovate America and MCED, which work 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. For example, HERO will only pay a contractor after the homeowner signs off that the job has been completed to their satisfaction. Contractors must have a good track record, products and labor must meet competitive pricing standards, and homeowners select from products that meet local, state and federal government efficiency standards.
HERO also provides post-funding support no other financing options would, including dispute resolution between homeowners and contractors and free assistance when it comes time to sell or refinance with a HERO assessment still in place. The FBI has commended Renovate America for helping put a fraudulent telemarketer in prison in 2015.
Real Results for Missouri
Missouri is on the leading edge of states making HERO available to residential property owners. The PACE model originated in California, where HERO has helped fund more than $1.75 billion in home energy improvements across more than 70,000 homes – and residential PACE is starting to flourish in Florida as well. Renovate America estimates that homeowners will see more than $3 billion in utility-bill savings over the lifetime of the products installed to date using HERO financing.
By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for contractor services and boosts the local economy. Renovate America estimates the program has spurred the creation of more than 15,000 jobs in communities throughout California since launching in December 2011. “We’re excited to collaborate with our local government partners and contractors in the Kansas City metro area to make energy improvements more accessible and affordable for property owners while enhancing local economic growth,” said John Maslowski, Vice President of Market Development, Missouri, for Renovate America.
Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at https://register.renovateamerica.com/. Through the HERO Program’s exclusive PACE partnership with the Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA), participating contractors can receive additional member benefits through the EGIA marketplace.