More than 500 Jackson County, MO residents have installed solar systems or added energy-efficiency features to their houses this year through a new Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) financing program.
HERO financing helps homeowners make energy-efficient and renewable-energy improvements to their homes, and then pay for the upgrades over time through an additional, voluntary line item on their property taxes. HERO, in partnership with the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED), finances residential upgrades like solar, high-efficiency HVAC, windows and doors, which can lower utility bills and make homes more comfortable and sustainable.
The program projects the energy savings will result in a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 25,000 tons, which is the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road annually.
HERO is offered through a public-private partnership between MCED and Renovate America, the nation’s largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) provider. Jackson County was one of the first counties in the state to give residents access to PACE financing programs like HERO.
“Throughout Missouri, PACE is helping local and state governments reach and expand their energy efficiency goals,” said David Pickerill, executive director of MCED. “Jackson County has set an example of how successful PACE can be. Rather quickly in the county, PACE has created jobs, saved families money on their energy bills, and provided homeowners with a new way to invest in their homes.”
One Kansas City, MO resident used the HERO program to install air-conditioning in her home. Janice Chronister, mother of four, was unable to replace a 1950s-era HVAC system because of difficulties accessing financing. So, she lived without A/C for 10 years until HERO financing allowed her to install an energy-efficient system in August.
“I’m grateful to HERO for the opportunity to make much-needed upgrades to my home,” she said. “My children and grandchildren love to come to my house now.”
HERO, which became available in Jackson County in September 2016, has also created more than 75 local construction and contractor jobs in and around the county. Statewide, nearly 1,000 homes have received energy renovations and the program has created more than 125 jobs.