Thursday, May 26, 2011

North Carlina Energy Efficiency Alliance Road Show with Progress Energy

The NCEEA is on the road this week and the first few weeks of June co-hosting a "road show" event with Progress Energy.  The focus of the event is to meet builders throughout the state and five them our “What’s the deal with ENERGY STAR” presentation, as well as inform them of incentive programs that Progress offers.

Yesterday was our first event in Goldsboro North Carolina.  The event went great with an engaged group of about 20 builders and real estate professionals.  The Wayne County HBA was kind enough to set up and host the event at the Famous Wilbur’s BBQ. We would like to thank both of these organizations for their help in making out first "road show" event a success. 

Today we will be hosting the second of our events in Morehead City, NC and would to see a large crowd their tonight.  For more information on this and other events statewide visit our calendar.

For more information on Progress Energy's incentive programs click on their logo below.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Have you seen a model house pressure demonstration

Well check out this life size pressure demonstration house that was built by EMC in Bozeman MT.  This is great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Large Builders follow suit with promoting HERS Index!

Info Borrowed From RESNET newsletter.
The nation's largest home builders have entered into agreements with RESNET to have all of their homes rated by certified RESNET raters and marketing their homes' HERS Index.  To date the following national builders have made the commitment:                                        
Centex Homes
Del Webb Communities
KB Home
Meritage Homes
Pulte Homes
Pulte Homes
Ryland Homes 

These commitments have been picked up by the national media including features in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fox News.

This commitment is not limited to large national builders.  Already raters have brought in local builders in Brevard County, Florida, Fayetteville, North Carolina and San Antonio, Texas.  There are real business opportunities that you as a rater for introducing this to your builder clients.

Monday, May 16, 2011

North Carolina Builder to Market HERS score on all homes built

Caviness & Cates Communities, a builder based in Fayetteville, North Carolina is committing to have all of their homes rated and marketing their homes' HERS Index.  

Caviness & Cates Communities and RESNET have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together in promoting improved home energy performance and home energy ratings of new homes.

The intent of the MOU is to raise consumers knowledge of new home energy performance by using RESNET's HERS Index. This will clearly differentiate homes built by Caviness & Cates Communities Homes and put competitive pressure on the new home industry in the North Carolina market to follow suit. It is expected that this agreement will serve as a model to other local and regional builders that would have positive outcomes for consumers, RESNET and the new home industry.
This is a great step toward having the HERS score become more common place, however, this does little to promote ENERGY STAR. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DOE and HUD Announce Lenders in New PowerSaver Pilot Program to Help Homeowners Pay for Energy Improvements

Eighteen national, regional and local lenders will participate in a new two-year pilot program that will offer qualified borrowers living in certain parts of the country low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these new PowerSaver loans will offer homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the participating lenders (see attached list) during a tour of a family-run company that offers home energy audits and upgrades in Long Island, New York.

"We believe the market is right for a low-cost financing option for families who want energy-saving technologies in their home," said Secretary Donovan. "PowerSaver hits on all cylinders by helping credit-worthy homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the local job market in the process. While FHA and these lenders are jumpstarting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing private sector interest in making these types of loans."

Secretary Chu said, "Today, we are breaking down barriers and making energy efficiency more accessible and more affordable. It's the right thing to do for our environment, for our economy and for the pocketbooks of American families."

The remodeling industry cites surveys that point to a growing demand among homeowners interested in making their homes energy efficient. Yet options are still limited for financing home energy improvements, especially for the many homeowners who are unable to take out a home equity loan or access an affordable consumer loan. Initially, the PowerSaver pilot program is estimated to assist approximately 30,000 homeowners to finance energy-efficient upgrades though higher market demand may increase this impact. According to HUD projections, more than 3,000 jobs will be created through this pilot program and the impact may be larger if market demand for the loan program increases over time.

Participating lenders are largely selected based on their commitment to work in partnership with established home energy retrofit programs provided by states, cities, utilities and home performance contractors. These markets include, but are not limited to areas of the country participating in the Energy Department's
Better Building Program.

PowerSaver loans will be backed by the FHA but require these lenders to have significant "skin in the game." FHA mortgage insurance will cover up to 90 percent of the loan amount in the event of default. Lenders will retain the remaining risk on each loan, incentivizing responsible underwriting and lending standards.

PowerSaver has been carefully designed to meet a need in the marketplace for borrowers who have the ability and motivation to take on modest additional debt to realize the savings over time from home energy improvements. PowerSaver loans are only available to borrowers with good credit, manageable debt and at least some equity in their home (maximum 100% combined loan-to-value).

HUD developed PowerSaver as part of the Recovery Through Retrofit initiative launched in May 2009 by Vice President Biden's Middle Class Task Force to develop federal actions that would expand green job opportunities in the United States and boost energy savings by improving home energy efficiency. The announcement is part of an interagency effort including 11 departments and agencies and six White House offices.

FHA PowerSaver Approved Lenders

1. Admirals Bank
2. AFC First Financial Corporation
3. Bank of Colorado
4. City of Boise, Idaho
5. Energy Finance Solutions
6. Enterprise Cascadia
7. HomeStreet Bank
8. Neighbor's Financial Corporation
9. Paramount Equity Mortgage, Inc.
10. Quicken Loans
11. SOFCU Community Credit Union
12. Stonegate Mortgage Corporation
13. Sun West Mortgage Company, Inc.
14. The Bank at Broadmoor
15. University of Virginia Community Credit Union, Inc.
16. Viewtech Financial Services, Inc.
17. WinTrust Mortgage
18. W. J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corporation

Borrowed from

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Greening the MLS and why it is important

Greening of the MLS
Greening the MLS (multiple listing service) is a large task in North Carolina.  There are over 50 different MLS providers statewide.  Each of those providers uses their own system, and input forms to list homes that are for sale in their area.  This makes having a uniform message from one place to the next important. 

    Why is it important at all?  Well here is the thing. If we as a community want to see energy efficiency gain some traction state wide, and become the norm that the consumer asks for when purchasing a new home, then the consumer needs to know that the home they are buying is energy efficient.   

   It’s kind of like going to buy a car (since this is the analogy that people like to make) and the manufacturer not supplying you with the miles per gallon rating.  The only way to know what the MPG's for the car you’re interested in is to buy it and find out for yourself.  Then it is too late.  What if that car cost you $100 dollar a week to fill up (like mine does and is also the reason that I'm going to be bike commuting much of the summer)?  What if the new home your buying has a mortgage that you can barely afford and once you guy it you discover that it costs $200+ dollars a month to pay the utility bills? 

   By having energy efficient, and green programs listed on the MLS state wide, then the consumer will know if the home they are buying is better than the next.  They will be able to tell their agent that they want to buy an ENERGY STAR, or a Healthy Built Home, etc. and their agents can find homes that match that criteria. 

   The program that a house is qualified under is only a start.  The other key ingredient to the MLS pie is the HERS score.  The HERS score (Home Energy Rating Score) is a way to compare homes apples to apples. 

   Greening the MLS state wide would benefit everyone involved in energy efficient housing. However, if we do not all, as a unified front, push for the greening of the MLS it will not happen.  And until it does we are all collectively leaving money on the table.

For more information on Greening the MLS visit:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Valuing Green Building and Energy Efficiency

The North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance is proud to announce that our partner Advanced Energy has completed the first two of seven appraiser training courses on how to value green and energy efficiency.  Both classes were filled to capacity and were a huge success.   There are five more of these trainings planed across the state, with the next being held this Friday, May 13th in Greensboro, NC.  For more information visit our calendar at, or shoot us an email at We will be happy to answer any and all questions that you might have.  Thanks Advanced Energy for all your hard work!

Friday, May 6, 2011

NC Housing Stimulus Bill recently filed in North Carolina

HB 918 Housing Stimulus , filed yesterday, includes the $1500 tax credit for new homes built to the voluntary 30% energy efficiency levels (or higher) as outlined in the pending 2012 building code.  This was included in the Governor's budget released earlier this year.

To read HB 918 in it's entirety follow this link: .

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Environmental Solutions Group helps NCEEA pass the 100 home mark!

Steve Armstrong, Senior Energy Analyst, at Environmental Solutions Group has been a champion of the North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance's goal of reaching 3000 qualified ENERGY STAR homes by the end of the project.  He and the ESG team recently submitted the Alliance's 100th completed home. 

ESG understands the challenges businesses face when it comes to becoming authentically sustainable. Their experience includes certifying organizations as having reduced their carbon footprint, certifying ENERGY STAR Homes for the EPA, providing Quality Assurance services for RESNET and verifying Green Built Homes for the National Association of Home Builders. They have achieved the coveted GreenPlus Certification from the Institute for Sustainable Development and GreenCheck certification from the Sierra Club Green Home program.

The NCEEA thanks Steve and ESG for their continued hard work in the energy-efficient new homes market, and for their hard work on behalf of the NCEEA.

Monday, May 2, 2011

New information on incentives

The Shelton Group, an associate of the Alliance to Save Energy, recently completed a study on energy efficiency improvements and the effects that incentives have on them.

  • Overall, 84% of homeowners and 73% of renters made at least one low-cost, energy-efficient change to their current home within the past twenty years, such as replacing incandescent light bulbs and installing weather stripping.

  • Of the roughly 830 people who undertook an energy-efficient improvement or purchase, 23% did so with a rebate or financial incentive.

  • Of the 195 people who used incentives for their home retrofits, 41% got utility rebates and 39% got federal tax incentives.

  • Utility bill reductions from energy efficiency improvements did not meet about one-quarter of respondents’ expectations. However, 44% of unsatisfied consumers believe they should make more improvements.

  • About 17% of respondents participated in an energy assessment, and 73% of those who carried out the assessment’s recommendations were satisfied with their resultant lower utility bills.

  • That last bullet point really underscores the importance of a professional assessment in weatherizing a home.

    As the federal government begins to limit spending and tax breaks, it is likely that some of the incentives that have been offered before for energy efficiency will be diminished or go by the wayside.

    This makes it even more important for utility companies to step up to the plate and provide strong incentives for homeowners to reduce their energy footprint, and for home buyers to choose residences that are efficient and perform well.

    However, it may seem counter-intuitive for a utility company to want to encourage customers to use less of their products, especially if the utility is shareholder-owned and not a co-op.

    One possible answer to this is called utility de-coupling, and we'll discuss this in a future blog post.