Energy Efficiency Retrofit Improvement Financing

The Program

Many of us out there who want the benefits that come with an upgraded HVAC system. The reduced utility bills, increased energy efficiency, and the peace of mind that come with these upgrades are exactly why we want them – it’s just that the up-front cost associated with the installation or retrofit can prevent many of us from actually achieving that goal.

And here’s where this wonderful opportunity comes into play. The WRCOG (Western Riverside Council of Governments) has a new program for Riverside County residents and businesses that allows them to perform the necessary retrofits or upgrades to their homes or buildings without having to pay the up-front cost out of pocket. This is great for those who wish to benefit from increased energy efficiency and decreased monthly utility bills.

No up-front cost AND you still get the retrofit or upgrade of your HVAC system? The whole thing sounds too good to be true; so how does it work? It’s actually rather simple – property owners in Riverside Country can apply for program coverage describing the energy and water savings improvements desired. If approved, the WRCOG will pay the up-front cost for the improvement, allowing property owners to pay back the amount through annual property tax assessments over a certain amount of time.

Being able to update your home or businesses energy efficiency will save thousands in utility and maintenance costs, while at the same time promote a healthier and more efficient region of the state. When more of us are using our energy and water efficiently, we all benefit. That’s the driving force behind this program – finding a way that we can all benefit and move toward to brighter, greener future.

So, what exactly is covered by this program? It’s nice to know that there’s a way to retrofit or upgrade one’s home or business without having to pay the up-front costs oneself, but what exactly is covered? What kind of range are we talking about? The best part about the WRCOG’s program is that there are over 100,000 products covered, including doors, windows, HVAC systems, solar panels, pool filtration systems, and much more. Basically, nearly anything that can be considered a permanent fixture to the building or home can qualify, allowing home and business owners to upgrade their energy efficiency and lower their monthly utility bills at the same time. In fact, most of the products and installations covered by this program will pay for themselves over a certain amount of time due to their reduction in monthly utility bills.

With this great opportunity presenting itself, how do you know if you qualify for the program? Qualifying for the WRCOG’s program is actually rather simple, and only has a small condition that needs to be met prior to applying. Individuals, associations, businesses, and basically anyone who’s paying real property tax can qualify if they have a clear title on the property, are up to date on their property taxes and mortgages, and request improvements that are reasonable for the property in question. Sounds pretty simple, huh?

Properties built prior to 2000 will most likely receive a much larger return on these energy efficiency enhancing improvements. In Riverside County alone there are upwards of 196,000 properties, both residential and commercial, that were built prior to 2000 and can really benefit from this program. Our technology has increased dramatically in the last ten years, and the systems and appliances of today are far more efficient that their decade-old counterparts, so noticeable improvement will be seen immediately after installation.

 

The Benefits

We’ve mentioned above some of the obvious benefits this program has to offer, but those are only on an individual level. Looking at this program from a regional standpoint, there are many benefits to the overall community than just reduced monthly utility costs and not having to invest the sizeable up-front costs. Some of the benefits to the community and region include:

  • A reduction or delay in the need for costly infrastructure investments that relate to energy generation and distribution
  • Improved usage of currently generated power and distribution systems
  • Improving overall home and property values throughout the region
  •  Western Riverside County will be a leader in improving air quality standards and reducing greenhouse gas emission through this large-scale effort
  •  Providing a no-money-down means of financing energy efficiency and conservation improvements
  • Average residential loan of $17,500
  • Average commercial loan of $30,000

With benefits like these, for both the resident/business and the region, it’s hard to think of a reason to not participate. But what happens if one were to sign up for this program and wind up selling the property before completing the annual property tax assessments? This is a good question, and one that should definitely be asked since real property has a tendency to change hands at highly varying intervals.

The obligation to repay the loan stays with the current owner of the property, so any new owner picking up a building or home that has new investments and retrofits through this program will also be assuming the remaining obligation to repay the loan. It all sounds pretty reasonable, when you stop to think about it.

There are a good number of reasons why we would want to upgrade our energy-draining appliances, the main ones being increased savings at the end of the month and increased peace of mind knowing that your equipment is new and at the top of its game. And now, thanks to the WRCOG’s program, it’s easier than ever for home and business owners to get the renovations they want and need at a price they can easily afford.

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