The relentless, triple-digit heat will inevitably prompt Coachella Valley residents and visitors to turn down the thermostat and turn up the fans. But the summer months don't have to result in sticker shock every time the electric bill arrives.

CVAG has partnered with two companies to help local property owners afford energy efficient upgrades or invest in solar energy and water-saving upgrades. CV Upgrade debuted in the desert in December 2013, and HERO recently became available across the entire Coachella Valley and unincorporated areas of eastern Riverside County.

 

Both CV Upgrade and HERO provide 100 percent financing up front and allow property owners to pay off the costs through their annual property taxes. The programs are especially appealing for people who don't have, or don't want to spend, cash up front. The interest rates vary, depending on the market rates and the length of the loan. Eligibility is based on the property value instead of someone's credit score.

 

The programs have proven to be enormously popular with homeowners - especially for solar panels and the unexpected breakdown of heating and air conditioning systems. Commercial property owners also can qualify.

 

"With the hot summer season upon us, my phones are ringing off the hook with folks looking for new and better air conditioners," said Frank Harrison, president of General Air Conditioning & Heating. "But not everyone can afford to install a more efficient system."

 

Graphic courtesy of Ygrene  

Nearly $18 million worth of projects have already been funded through the two Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which are administered by Ygrene and Renovate America.

 

With state lawmakers imposing new restrictions to help a drought-stricken California, CVAG is seeing an increasing number of property owners using the financing programs to improve their water efficiency. Those projects have included tankless water heaters, artificial turf, drip irrigation systems, and low flush toilets.

 

Offering financing programs to property owners is part of CVAG's larger Green for Life initiative. The effort promotes energy efficiency and sustainability and has resulted in city-specific Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories and Climate Action Plans.

 

To learn more, go online to greenforlifecv.org and follow @GreenforLifeCV on Twitter.

CVAG Deputy Executive Director Allyn Waggle, whose leadership of the Transportation Department resulted in improvements to six Interstate 10 interchanges, retired this month.

 

Allyn dedicated 37 years to public service, including more than two decades working for the City of Indio and CVAG. During his tenure, he's worked with four CVAG executive directors, developed the Regional Arterial Capital Improvement Program, implemented the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee Program (TUMF) and built consensus across the Coachella Valley around countless miles of road and bridge improvements.

 

CVAG is conducting a search for its next transportation director. Gary Leong, CVAG Director of Administrative Services, was promoted to the position of Deputy Executive Director.

 

CVAG's committees tend to meet less during the summer months, but the agency is still busy coordinating the region's transportation plans, green energy programs, conservation efforts and social services. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow @CVAGnews on Twitter.  

Willow Hole Conservation Area is located north of Palm Springs and Cathedral City.

 

The Coachella Valley Conservation Commission, a sister agency to CVAG that is charged with implementing the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, is acquiring 77.5 acres in the Willow Hole and Thousand Palms conservation areas.

 

The sale involves a total of six parcels in regions that the CVCC has deemed priority acquisition areas.

 

The Willow Hole Conservation Area provides an important sand transport area for the original Willow Hole/ Edom Hill Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard Preserve. In addition to being a home for the endangered lizard, the area is habitat for the Coachella Valley round-tailed ground squirrel, the Palm Springs pocket mouse and the Coachella Valley milkvetch.

 

CVCC staff determined the 20 acres purchased in Thousands Palms to be an important purchase because the parcel is critical to the long-term viability of the original fringe-toed lizard preserve.

 

CVCC board members agreed to spend no more than $232,500 for the sale.

 

The decision came one month after the commission endorsed a plan to buy about 54 acres in the Willow Hole and Upper Mission Creek conservation areas. Since 2008, the CVCC has acquired more than 6,300 acres. 

Coachella Valley
Fringe-toed lizard