VICTORVILLE — A local High Desert city has seen a multi-million dollar boom in home efficiency projects through the local Home Energy Renovation Opportunity program.
Tracy Tate, HERO community engagement manager for Victorville, said homeowners in the city who have taken advantage of the HERO program are paying less for utilities while saving energy and water in their homes, adding that the whole community is also benefiting from the “boost to the local economy.”
Over 700 homeowners made energy and water efficiency upgrades using Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, a program that allows government and business to partner and provide financing for energy-efficient improvements.
According to Tate, the program came after the Victorville City Council voted to launch a new program to help local homeowners make efficiency upgrades, with the hope that it would help reduce utility bills, grow the local clean energy economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A few years into their partnership with the HERO PACE financing program, Victorville has been reaping the benefits.
Since the program became available to Victorville homeowners, HERO home-efficiency projects have been completed in 710 homes for $13.4 million in funding. The program enables homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and to pay for them over time through their property tax bill.
Many of the 710 homeowners chose to get more than one type of efficiency improvement completed at once, for a total of 528 solar installations, 802 energy-efficiency improvements and 84 water-efficiency improvements.
These projects will result in approximately $32 million in utility bill savings for Victorville homeowners. The HERO-financed efficiency upgrades completed in the city to date are expecting to save 97 million kWh of energy (equivalent to 22,800 people’s home electricity use for a year); reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28,200 tons (the equivalent of taking 6,000 SUVs off the road for a year); and save 79 million gallons of water (the equivalent of 2.5 million showers) over the lifetime of the products.
Victorville residents pay 35 percent more for electricity than the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making this area a strategic spot for programs that encourage efficiency-oriented home improvements.
The HERO Program also increased demand for local contractor services, with an estimated 114 jobs created in the city of Victorville’s local construction sector.
In addition to the city offering PACE financing to local homeowners, Victorville Municipal Utility Services provides household solar rebates, as well as efficiency rebates that include energy audits, lighting and construction incentives, energy demand reduction, and custom energy efficiency incentives, according to a statement from the HERO program.
The San Bernardino County Regional 2008 Community Greenhouse Gas Inventories reports that taking measures to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings could significantly reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions. This refers to all types of buildings, but residential housing makes up a significant portion of the total. This indicates a promising opportunity to reduce emissions through residential energy efficiency and clean energy production.
For more information on HERO financing, visit www.HeroProgram.com.
HERO Program Boosts Victorville Economy to the Tune of $13.4M, by Rene Ray De La Cruz, Victorville Daily Press, November 28, 2016.