Bipartisan provision helps consumers save energy and promotes smarter mortgage lending
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 28, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Industry groups and energy efficiency advocates applaud the inclusion of the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act in yesterday’s reintroduction of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (Shaheen-Portman), S.2074. As the provision will be the largest generator of energy savings among the new additions to Shaheen-Portman, the SAVE Act will help households reap the benefits of investing in energy-efficient homes. The bill’s co-sponsors, Senators Isakson (R-GA) and Bennet (D-CO) have championed the SAVE Act since its introduction in 2011. The coalition would also like to thank additional co-sponsors Boxer (D-CA), Toomey (R-PA), Udall (D-CO), and Begich (D-AK) for their support. The bill’s diverse coalition of supporters includes over 45 organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“The SAVE Act is a huge win for American consumers, who will have greater access to mortgage credit to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This will bring them significant savings on their monthly bills, better protect them from energy price shocks, and most importantly, allow them to live in healthier and more comfortable homes,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation.
The average U.S. homeowner spends more on energy bills per year than on either property taxes or homeowners insurance—and yet current underwriting standards do not consider a home’s energy efficiency when reviewing mortgage applications. The SAVE Act would address this blind spot by adjusting underwriting and valuation standards for borrowers who voluntarily submit a home energy report. This will enable more households to purchase energy-efficient homes or finance the cost of energy-saving improvements in home loans, without increasing the cost of homeownership. The SAVE Act is expected to result in $9.7 billion in energy savings through 2030.
Successful passage of the SAVE Act will spur a still fragile housing market, increasing demand for energy-efficient new homes and improvements and locking in energy savings for years to come. “Builders across the country are investing in green, energy-efficient homes. Unfortunately, appraisals often do not reflect that investment, which means the builder may lose money on these types of homes because they can’t offer their buyers a way to document their value. This bill will go a long way to address this issue by creating standards for green appraisals and ensuring that appraisers have access to information about green properties,” said Kevin Kelly, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.
By encouraging better home energy performance, the SAVE Act will spur investment and jobs in energy-efficient construction and renovations. “Energy-efficiency measures are a win-win for manufacturers,” said Ross Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources for the National Association of Manufacturers. “They incentivize new technologies to lower energy costs while allowing manufacturers to create jobs and keep a critical advantage in the global market. Ensuring homeowners can access the financial resources needed to take advantage of these new technologies must be a part of any plan to advance energy efficiency. Manufacturers strongly support this important component of the newly reintroduced Shaheen-Portman legislation.”
“This smart, bipartisan bill helps homeowners, the economy, and the environment,” Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said when the bill was introduced, “It empowers homeowners and lenders to make better decisions about energy use so people who buy homes can afford to live in them. It will create good construction and manufacturing jobs. And by reducing wasted energy it cuts dangerous pollution that harms our families and communities.”
The SAVE Act has support from a broad coalition of real estate, business, building trade and conservation groups, including: ASHRAE, E2 Environment Entrepreneurs, EcoBroker, Efficiency First, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the American Gas Association, the American Institute of Architects, the American Public Gas Association, the Appraisal Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Council of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, the Green Builder Coalition, the Institute for Market Transformation, the International Code Council, the Leading Builders of America, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of State Energy Officials, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association , the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Residential Energy Services Network, the Structural Insulated Panel Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
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