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Tap into new financing for home energy upgrades

Homeowners in Kansas City, MO and Jackson County can now access a new financing option for home energy upgrades that offer many benefits, including being tied to the property for repayment through an owner’s property tax bill.

The new Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Program launched this month in Kansas City. It is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing option that can be used to help homeowners reduce utility bills by upgrading HVAC, windows and doors or adding insulation or renewable energy.

One of the unique benefits is the ability of the homeowner to tie the payment to the house’s tax bill. So, repayment can be made over time and can potentially follow the house when it is sold.

HERO is the largest residential PACE program in the United States and is available to Missouri communities that join the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED). Kansas City, MO, and Jackson County were among the first communities to join MCED. Parts of Clay and Platte counties and the city of North Kansas City are also participating.

“Kansas City wants to be a trailblazer when it comes to the clean-energy economy in the state of Missouri, and that’s why we were one of the first to adopt the HERO Program,” said Scott Wagner, Kansas City councilman and mayor pro tem. “The program is a tremendous opportunity for homeowners to lower their utility bills and make their homes more comfortable while boosting the local clean tech economy – all at no cost to taxpayers.”

State Senator Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, was one of the original sponsors of the bi-partisan legislation approved by lawmakers in 2010 to authorize PACE financing.

“It’s exciting to see an economic development and energy savings plan like PACE go into effect,” said Holsman. “This is a prime example of a public-private partnership that will provide more options for energy efficient improvements while also creating private-sector jobs and boosting home values across the state.”

The HERO Program is run by Renovate America and MCED. Greg Frost, national communications director of Renovate America, says the HERO Program addresses a common problem for homeowners. Each year, one in six homeowners replaces a home system that affects energy consumption. Most of the time, they choose a less efficient option based on upfront sticker price, instead of factoring in the total cost of owning and maintaining the product or system over the course of its useful life. By financing only efficient solutions, HERO helps a homeowner choose a more efficient system to replace or upgrade a failing system. In turn, this helps upgrade the energy efficiency of housing stock across the country.

HERO funds 100 percent of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay, with fixed interest rates. The term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 20 years, which spreads out the cost over time. Interest on HERO payments may be tax-deductible.

Because the program is a public-private partnership, HERO financing includes additional requirements to protect consumers. HERO will only pay a contractor after the homeowner signs off that the job has been completed to their satisfaction. Contractors must have a good track record, products and labor must meet competitive pricing standards, and homeowners select from products that meet local, state and federal government efficiency standards.

The PACE model originated in California, where HERO has helped finance more than $1.8 billion in home energy improvements for more than 70,000 homes. The cumulative and projected energy savings over the life of the California improvements is 11.5-billion kilowatt hours of electricity, with 3-million tons of carbon dioxide averted, according to Frost.

Renovate America reports that the HERO Program also increased demand for contractor services and in California helped create more than 15,000 jobs since launching in December 2011.

“We’re excited to collaborate with our local government partners and contractors in the Kansas City metro area to make energy improvements more accessible and affordable for property owners while enhancing local economic growth,” said John Maslowski, Renovate America vice president of market development in Missouri.

Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing can learn more at the HERO Program. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at

The HERO Program has received a number of recognitions including a Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, inclusion in the 2016 White House Water Summit, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in California, and the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best.


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