Green Energy Money-financed house wins Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s HOUSES 2015 Award as Best Energy-Smart Home



Green Building Features

  • Rainwater Harvesting (as only source of water)
  • 5kw Solar System
  • Geothermal
  • Solar Hot Water
  • HERS Index 7


Yearly utility payments – $295, including water
Yearly energy savings – $3,112
Water savings – 100% reduction

“The GEM team was thoroughly knowledgeable about all of the ins and outs of green and sustainable building and how to properly construct a loan program that embraced our approach to building (rather than penalizing us for going green the way the other lender tried to do), including our insistence on using only 100% rainwater collection for all of our water needs. Their thorough, customer-centric approach ensured we were guided down the most efficient loan path. I would highly recommend them for anyone contemplating building a green home.” 

                                                                                                               Tom Kolnowski, homeowner

Our experience with Green Energy Money (GEM) has been great. They truly know how to value a green building. For this project they were able to appropriately appraise, and affordable finance this amazing 100% rainwater home when no one else could. GEM is the future of green financing!” 

                                                                                                   Eddie Thomas, Build Native, Austin, Texas

What’s Included in a Case Study

Case studies are about the numbers and the stories behind them. Each GEM case study profiles information about the property and the quantified results of the actual project; information includes square footage, project costs, energy savings and, if applicable, energy production.


Current Case Studies

Houston Existing Green Home Achieves Success – Green Appraisal Valuation

High Performance Home Features High performance building envelope materials-insulation HERS Index Rating 61 Home Square Footage 4414 Experience Rating   Green Energy Money (GEM), Inc. and Weststar Mortgage were persistent in supporting me in the mortgage refinance for my existing … Continued


High Performance Retrofit- Hill Country, Texas

  OWNERS FOUND A WAY TO SAVE MONEY AND IMPROVE THEIR ENERGY BILLS       This existing home already had a good building envelope.  The owners wanted to add some renewable, high-performance measures and were able to achieve their … Continued


High Performance Building | Dallas, TX

  HERS Index Rating is 49 Home Square Footage 2,613 Teresa and Weststar have been an absolute pleasure to work with. Teresa has a deep understanding of the green home financial landscape and a deep passion to promote the movement. They … Continued


Net-Zero Solar | Austin, Tx

Austin Custom Built – Completed March 2015 “The GEM and Weststar Mortgage Teams helped us every step of the way, from the construction loan through to the final mortgage.  They was able to explain to us how the process worked … Continued


Tear Down | Austin, TX

We love our neighborhood and lot. But our home was old, uncomfortable and the energy bills were going up. After a very intensive analysis, Solluna Builders determined that fixing the house would be more expensive than tearing it down and … Continued


Net Zero | Salt Lake City, UT

First Salt Lake City Net Zero Project ”We are committed to supporting the environment and to reducing our energy consumption by building a high-performance home that would realize these benefits; and ultimately save us money on our utility bills and … Continued


Case Study: Driftwood, TX – 100% Rainwater

“Our experience with Green Energy Money (GEM) and SecurityNational Mortgage Company (SNMC) has been great. They truly know how to value a green building. For this project they were able to appropriately appraise, and affordably finance this amazing 100% rainwater … Continued


Net-Zero | Austin, TX

The kitchen “My wife and I had a main focus of balancing cost with responsible stewardship; reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. We understood that the upfront costs, versus a long-term financial plan of dramatically reducing utility and operating … Continued


Near Net-Zero | Manchaca, TX

“Our hat is off to Green Energy Money (GEM) and SecurityNational Mortgage Company (SNMC). They helped us make our clients’ dream a reality. The homeowners wanted an energy-efficient, high-performance home, including a solar photovoltaic system and whole-house potable rainwater system. … Continued


Light EE Retrofit | Leander, TX

“Not only did we receive a lower interest rate through GEM‘s lenders, but the Green Appraisal increased our market value and covered the costs of the upgrades. We are “true” believers in GEM‘s methods and programs.” – Betty Saenz, Building … Continued


Deep Retrofit | Austin, TX

“The Green Energy Money (GEM) and SecurityNational Mortgage Company (SNMC) team have assisted my wife and I, twice, with refinancing our personal passive house designed home through their green appraisal program. Both times, we received a generous recognized valuation, competitive … Continued


Net-Zero Home| Austin, TX

Energy Efficiency Improvement 75% – 100%+ Karen and Dan Cripe designed and built their custom home in Round Rock, Texas with the expertise and support of Solluna Builders, a custom home builder who specializes in net-zero projects. Their home has … Continued


Net-Zero Surplus | Mitchell, OR

This exemplary case study demonstrates the economic possibilities for building and business owners alike. New construction projects offer a higher cost benefit when energy production offsets transportation costs as well as building costs. The owners were able to produce enough … Continued


Net-Zero Project | Santa Fe,NM

Madelyn, a Santa Fe, New Mexico homeowner and single mother upgraded her 3200- square foot home with solar power. Her building was less than 10 years old, and the building insulation, all equipment and appliances were energy-efficient and well-maintained. She … Continued


Deep Retrofit | Arlington, VA

This home was purchased and retrofitted with additional square footage prior to the new owners moving in. Data from local electric and gas companies using their regional average usage costs was used as a baseline. We believe the energy reduction … Continued


Light Retrofit |Austin, TX

Greg, a rental property owner in Austin, Texas owns a single-family house that is over 30 years old. Although he maintained the property, his new tenant complained that she was too cold and that the house was drafty and uncomfortable. … Continued


What’s the HERS Index?

At GEM, we believe that one of the key reasons Americans haven’t made more energy upgrades is because it’s difficult to know how these investments are going to pay off. Case studies provide real data about real property owners who have successfully upgraded and have the data to show that it is a good investment. This information helps others understand what to expect and see the path so they can make their own homes and buildings more energy efficient.


A Home Energy Rating is a measurement of a home‘s energy efficiency. The lower the number, the lower your energy costs!

 The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It‘s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. The lower the number, the lower your energy costs!

What do the HERS Index Scores mean?

The RESNET HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. The HERS or Home Energy Rating System was developed by RESNET and is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. Certified RESNET Home Energy Raters conduct inspections to verify a home’s energy performance and determine what improvements can be made to increase it.