HERO helps Californian communities reduce energy and water consumption

Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) has partnered with residents of California to launch a water saving technology through which 250 billion gallons of water savings can be achieved annually.

HERO is partnering with local government to help people reduce their water and energy demand and then pay for the facility through property tax bills.

The Program has provided $2.2 million for water efficiency improvements that will save more than 100 million gallons of water.

The initiative has offered financing for 50 different product categories that reduce water or energy consumption. These water savings products include: high efficiency toilets, faucets, showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; artificial turf; and drought tolerant landscaping.

Sue Frost, vice mayor, Citrus Heights, said, “The HERO Program enables homeowners to replace products in the home that consume a high amount of water with products that consume significantly less water. By using less water, homeowners save money, which is then used to repay the investment they have made to their homes.”

Estimates predict that by installing high-efficiency toilets a family could save 16,000 gallons of water each year. Another savings of more than 50,000 gallons is possible if this water saving is magnified by installing water efficiency systems.

HERO is available to over 5 million households, corresponding to an annual potential savings of over 250 billion gallons of water. A one percent participation rate means saving over 2.5 billion gallons of water annually.

The initiative is executed by PACE legislation that provides property owners with finance energy- and water-efficiency improvement methods through their property tax payments. Borrowers get 5-20 years of loan options and interest on the payments is tax deductible. When the property is sold PACE assessments can be legally transferred to the new owner.

With fines looming and water prices increasing, investing in water-smart landscaping and water efficient products in the home will save money.

John Rossi, general manager, Western Municipal Water District, Riverside, board member, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), explained, “If we make lasting investments in a home’s water efficiency is sure to pay off.
With water supplies becoming more uncertain, homeowners that make these kinds of investments will benefit immediately and in the long-term.”

The program is adopted by 169 California cities and has received more than 10 awards nationally including the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in California, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best, and the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Excellence.

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