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The Sierra Club, Baton Rouge Chapter, is holding a meeting to discuss the HERO program   

A Few Words on the Home Energy Rebate Option, aka HERO

By: Nancy Grush, Baton Rouge ExCom member and Delta Chapter Conservation Chair


Are you interested in lower energy bills while joining the effort to create a more sustainable world?  Consider the Home Energy Rebate Option (HERO), created and run by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Isn't HERO an apropos acronym?


Through HERO, you receive a cash rebate based on how much you improve your home's efficiency.  The DNR website does not list the maximum amount of a rebate each household can receive, but the website does list the total number of homes that participated each year, and the amount of money issued in those rebates.  Based on the figures provided, including my own participation in 2003, the average rebate check is $1,744.00.  Of course, this does not include the anticipated savings on energy bills.


To qualify for a cash rebate, the improvements to your home must result in a minimum of 30% more efficiency.


The first step is to contact an approved HERO energy rater, who can be found on the DNR website:  The rater does a preliminary rating of your home, which demonstrates how your home ranks on a 500-point scale.  The audit also shows where energy is being lost.  The initial cost of hiring a rater to audit your home's current efficiency level ranges from $400 to $600.


The amount of the rebate is determined by taking 20% of the lesser of: (1) the cost of the energy efficient items/improvements, or (2) the present value of the energy saved as a result of the improvements made to your home.


HERO is limited to existing Louisiana homes or duplexes.  No apartment complexes are eligible for this opportunity.  Another option to consider are Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs).  EEMs are available upon purchasing a home, or if one is considering refinancing a mortgage to pay for energy efficiency improvements.  DNR estimates that a homeowner can realize annual savings ranging from $300 to $600.


In addition to saving money, you will also be helping our environment.  Based on DNR figures for the month of December 2008, the following savings are attributable to the HERO program: 7.4 trillion BTUs; 1,302 kilo tons of CO2; 2,867 tons of Sox; and 1,844 tons of NOx.


If the HERO program interests you, and you'd like to learn more about it, the Baton Rouge Sierra Club will be hosting a meeting on Wednesday, February 25, at 7:00 p.m. at the EBR Parish Bluebonnet Library in Baton Rouge.  If you cannot attend this meeting, visit the website as listed and/or contact Nancy Grush ( for further information.