North County cities offer energy-saving options

ENCINITAS — In an effort to combat the drought and help residents reduce energy use, the city of Encinitas has joined Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista to officially launch the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which enables homeowners and commercial-property owners to pay off energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax bill.

A wide variety of energy- and water-saving products are available through the HERO Program, including solar-power panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows, doors and roofing and insulation. Property owners repay the assessment over five, 10, 15 or 20 years through their property tax bill. Interest is tax deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on energy and water utility bills.

“HERO will help these cities save water and energy and enable local homeowners to make immediate efficiency-improvements to their homes,” said Matt Messina, HERO Community Development Manager. “As a San Diego-based business, we’re proud that our home county has enthusiastically embraced our program. We’ve already funded more than 1,600 projects in San Diego County, partnering with hundreds of contractors and creating jobs across the county. We’re looking forward to helping homeowners in the seven new cities use HERO to help save energy and water, and to reduce their utility bills.”

HERO has already funded more than $23 million in projects in 10 other San Diego communities.

As California’s drought drags on, HERO-eligible retrofits give homeowners a way to lower their water bill and conserve this resource. HERO has more than 50 product lines to help homeowners save water, including high-efficiency toilets, faucets and showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; as well as artificial turf and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Taking part in the HERO Program is voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments. Cities and counties need only pass a resolution in order to make PACE programs like HERO available to local property owners. The HERO program has received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best, and the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Excellence.

To learn more about the HERO Financing Program, and to apply, property owners can visit HEROProgram.com or call (855) 437-6411.

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