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Home HERO: Program helps residents reduce utility costs

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Morro Bay, Grover Beach, and Paso Robles recently joined the growing list of 430-plus California cities helping homeowners reduce their utility bills.

The cities signed on to help their residents make water-efficient and/or energy-efficient upgrades to their homes through Renovate America’s HERO program, a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that allows property owners to finance those improvements through their property taxes.

SOLAR LOAN:  The HERO program helps residents make their homes energy- and water-efficient by providing financing through a property tax assessment. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RENOVATE AMERICA
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RENOVATE AMERICA
  • SOLAR LOAN: The HERO program helps residents make their homes energy- and water-efficient by providing financing through a property tax assessment.

SLO County joined the program at the beginning of the year, enabling unincorporated swaths of the county to be eligible for the loans. The city of SLO is expected to launch HERO this fall. 

According to Renovate America spokesperson Kelly Sandoval, more than 75,000 households have utilized the program to finance an estimated $1.77 billion worth of solar panels, energy-efficient windows, heating and cooling systems, insulation, and other energy saving products in the state of California. 

Basically, the upfront cost of making energy or water saving upgrades to a home can be cost prohibitive.

“Rather than paying for the project up front, they pay for it over time,” Sandoval said. The goal is to “make it accessible for more homeowners to make improvements that save energy and water.” 

Losing heat through your roof? You could install a cool roof, which helps houses retain that heat. Does it get too hot in the summertime? You could install reflective walls to help deflect the sun’s rays. Want solar panels? So did 27.8 percent of the property owners who have utilized the HERO program.

The HERO Program helps finance 100 percent of the cost of installing more than 60 different products. Property owners than pay that loan back over a period of five to 20 years through their property taxes. 

To find out more about the program or apply to participate, visit heroprogram.com

Fast facts 

September is National Library Card Signup Month and the SLO County Library will be celebrating it by posting photos of new cardholders on its Facebook page and handing out free San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum passes to first-time cardholders aged 2 to 10. For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit your local SLO County Library in person or visit the library online at slolibrary.org

• The SLO County Food Bank Coalition is receiving a four-year, almost $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its Access for All, From Field to Fork project. The project’s goals are to increase the availability and consumption of fresh, local produce by low-income residents while deepening community connections to the local food system. 

• Local nonprofit RISE will present awards for excellence in community service supporting its sexual assault and intimate partner violence programs at this year’s Wine, Women, and Shoes event on Sept. 11. The 2016 RISE Up Award winners are District Attorney Investigator Dona Jones, RISE Friends Committee member Nancy Lyons, Meathead Movers CEO Aaron Steed, Paragon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu owners Chris and Mallory Lavato, and RISE Board President Kate Perry. Tickets to the event are available at riseslo.org. All proceeds benefit RISE programs.

• The Association of Amputee Surfers (AmpSurf) welcomed wounded and disabled warriors to the Central Coast for its 11th annual Operation Restoration event on Sept. 7. The public is encouraged to go to the Pismo Beach pier to show support for participants from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 9 and 10. There will also be a demo of a powered kayak from GoodLife Mobility and an adaptive chair strapped to a surfboard for non-ambulatory surfers built by AmpSurf at Cuesta College. To find out more, visit ampsurf.org/donate.  

This week’s Strokes & Plugs was compiled by New Times staff. Send tips and story ideas to strokes@newtimesslo.com

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