Some Good News On Energy Efficiency

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The Natural Resources Defense Council blog recently published a blog post titled “Amazingly Good Energy News: U.S. Energy More Secure and Reliable than Ever, Thanks to Efficiency,” It reports that “Our businesses and industries are producing and selling more stuff, and using less energy to do so. We used less energy last year than we did in 1999-despite running an economy that‘s 25 percent bigger.”

The NRDC adds, “The next big opportunity for energy efficiency is our homes and buildings, which are responsible for about one-third of U.S. global warming emissions. Tightening building energy codes and upgrading our homes and buildings with better insulation, energy-efficient equipment and appliances will reduce energy waste, save money for owners and tenants, and bring down carbon pollution.”

Here at Green Energy Money we agree with that NRDC statement. But to inspire/motivate consumers and builders to invest in energy efficiency construction, we will need more than mandated government building codes, incentive programs, environmental benefits and cost savings. That is all good information, but it‘s not enough.

Although we have the technology that is proven to reduce energy consumption, to connect the industry dots we need the financial and real estate industries to recognize the monetary and environmental value of high performing, energy-efficient homes. A home that uses less water, gas or oil is less expensive to operate and maintain; that‘s not only good for the environment and for US energy independence; it‘s also good for the homeowner‘s bank account, and it means a lower risk investment for lenders.

Historically, operating expenses have not been considered relevant in residential loans and appraisals. If a home costs less to operate and maintain in terms of energy and structural maintenance, then that home‘s appraisal should reflect that value, and lenders should factor in the value in the underwriting and loan process. Green Energy Money can help increase the production of more energy efficient homes because homeowners and builders are more likely to build energy efficient homes if 1) they can get the loan they need to invest in these technologies, and 2) they can get a return on their investment, or “recognized value” when they refinance or sell a high-performance home.

GEM is part of a comprehensive global energy solution because we help the real estate, consumer and lending communities quantify the monetary value of homes that use less energy (and in many cases actually produces surplus energy—also known as net zero plus). Building scientists have made great progress in terms of energy efficiency; now it‘s time for the lending and real estate markets to acknowledge the cost benefits of high performance homes. For more info, contact us.