Energy Efficiency Climbs into the “Must Have” List for Homeowners

Slow and steady wins the race. And over the past few months, energy efficiency has quietly been grabbing the media coverage from it’s sexy cousins the Renewables, like solar, wind and geothermal.

Early this month I reported that green as in wallet (saving money) was hot.  Now the July issue of Realtor Magazine is reporting that saving money is motivating Americans to seek out the energy efficiency improvement ... that go beyond yesterday’s stop-at-CFL-bulb-replacement trend.

 

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Tags: estate, homes, real, resale, trends, value

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Comment by Gary Kahanak on July 19, 2011 at 8:48am

It's a relief to see that realtors and homeowners are finally starting to "get it" about energy efficiency. 

The money-saving aspect of home energy efficiency upgrades is legitimized by a new financing instrument offered by Fannie Mae, called the Energy Improvement Feature.  My blog article covers this in more detail, but essentially homeowners are able to borrow money for energy efficiency improvements if computer modeling shows that the upgrades are cash-flow positive; that is, utility savings are greater than the additional mortgage costs for the upgrades.

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is another financing instrument for energy efficiency that was recently a rising star, and may soon be a major player on the national level.  PACE financing also requires computer modeling to document that the improvement package will be cash-flow positive over the lifetime of the improvements; the difference is that the cost of improvements are assessed on the property taxes.  Funds come from a municipal bond backed by private investment capital.  Homeowners can finance a comprehensive energy upgrade for essentially no cash out-of-pocket.  Future owners of the property benefit from the improvements, but also pay for them through the increased property taxes, which remain with the property. 

With these financing instruments, it is clear that energy efficiency is poised to go mainstream.

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