There is a government program in a 17-city area in California called the HERO financing program set up to facilitate energy upgrades on homes. More than 1,600 applications have been submitted. Over 250 installation contractors are available to do the work. Some new jobs have been created and filled by some of these companies. In the near future commercial property improvements will also be addressed.
There are funds totaling $33 million to fund this work. Applications are processed by the Western Riverside Council of Governments’ HERO program. The residential endeavor is so successful that a commercial version is set to be launched. There are $225 million accumulated to offer opportunities to the commercial property owners.
Those in authority in the county embrace the program as a way to ensure continuing value of properties involved. The resale price will be higher. However, the main purpose of the program is energy savings. It has the corollary effect of making new jobs available. There may be as many as 4,000 created as a result.
Local contractors say they have hired one or more new employees since the start of HERO. In one case it has prevented some from being laid off. One advantage for those benefiting from the energy saving plan is they know they are hiring a company that is familiar with energy laws connected to the installations.
One homeowner who had energy-efficient windows put in said it is the biggest investment in home improvements he has made since the repression started. Unemployment had impacted his income and although he since secured employment, still found himself behind financially. Windows were not within his reach.
They needed air conditioning because their windows faced east and west and they were impacted by the sun each day. The energy bills were out of control. Now the HERO program is available to finance energy savings installations through property taxes, making home improvements a possibility for many.
Among the types of home improvements that are made available are new windows, photovoltaic solar installations, roof repair, adding insulation to homes, purchase of energy saving appliances and setting up wind turbines. There have been 1,100 such improvement projects done. They cost a total of $4 million so far. The special loans have been given in a 17-city region.
Much new business has been started that would not have been contracted for without HERO. Contractors look forward to the planned expansion into the commercial sector. Commercial property improvements are expected to reap similar benefits for the area.