Renovate America, a provider of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, says that its HERO Program has made possible the installation of energy-efficient home central air-conditioning units worth more than $415 million. More than half of the sales volume involves equipment that exceeds the minimum energy-efficiency standards of the federal ENERGY STAR program.

Products installed using HERO financing must carry a high government efficiency rating, such as those in the ENERGY STAR program. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR label, for example, central air-conditioning units must carry a minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of at least 15.

Since launching five years ago, HERO has helped install more than $415 million in air conditioning units. Of the total sales volume, over $215 million has involved equipment rated SEER 16 or higher.

HERO financing is available in California and Missouri and will expand to Florida later in 2017. The program enables owners to make home energy and efficiency upgrades and pay for them over time at a fixed interest rate through an additional line item on their property taxes.

HERO says that it addresses a problem conventional financing products have not solved. Each year, one in six homeowners replaces a system in the home 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.

HERO finances up to 100% of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay; HERO interest rates are competitive with other options; the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 25 years, spreading costs out over time. Moreover, interest on HERO payments may be tax-deductible, and the upgrades themselves may increase home values.

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