Friday, October 28, 2011

Support The SAVE Act: Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Bill Introduced on Capitol Hill

Bipartisan, budget-neutral bill would include energy costs in mortgage underwriting, 
make energy-efficient homes more affordable, and create 83,000 jobs by 2020

Washington, D.C. – October 19, 2011 – Today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act. The SAVE Act instructs federal loan agencies to assess a borrower’s expected energy costs when financing a mortgage. Although the average American homeowner spends over $2,000 per year on energy costs – more than on either property taxes or home insurance – current underwriting rules do not take those costs into account. The SAVE Act would remove this blind spot and improve lending standards.

In addition, the SAVE Act would enable more homeowners to finance the cost of energy efficiency improvements as part of their mortgage, lowering their utility bills for years to come. The bill would increase demand for energy-efficient new homes and improvements, creating an estimated 83,000 jobs across the U.S. economy and $1.1 billion in consumer energy savings by 2020, according to an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).

“Right now, federal mortgage underwriting rules don’t factor in the second-biggest cost of home ownership: energy bills. That leaves mortgages more vulnerable as energy costs rise,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. “The SAVE Act will make energy-efficient homes and home improvements more affordable, at no cost to the taxpayer. Increased demand will drive job growth in the construction and renovation industry.”

Backing the SAVE Act is a broad coalition of business, real estate and industry groups and environmental organizations, including: IMT, the U.S. Green Building Council, RESNET, the Alliance to Save Energy, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. A full list of coalition members, the job creation analysis, and a fact sheet on the SAVE Act can be found at Click here to view the full SAVE Act Bill. To support this bill, email your member of Congress by clicking here.

Homes are responsible for nearly a quarter of all energy consumed in the U.S. – more than $250 billion each year. The SAVE Act would dramatically ramp up home efficiency to save American consumers money, strengthen our nation’s economy, protect our health and environment, and reduce our dependence on imported energy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Performance Labels for Energy Efficient Homes

Knowing how to buy a home that integrates building integrity, indoor air quality, and lower energy and water use just got a whole lot easier.

David Parker and the staff of Effect Energy ( in Garner, North Carolina worked with RESNET to develop this new home performance label for builders that will be used to quantify the energy performance of a home. The sticker is based on the HERS Index and provides an estimate of home’s energy performance, features and energy bills. HERS ratings take into account the home’s insulation levels, window performance, HVAC system efficiency, and the airtightness of the building’s envelope and ductwork.

The new label provides a simple, standardized format for homebuyers to take advantage of the green building movement and comparison shop for homes. Homes that receive this label qualify for tax credits and energy-efficient mortgages, and save homeowners money on operating expenses every month.

Builders interested in using this label can enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with RESNET to join the growing number of leading builders committed to building high-energy-performance homes.

Energy raters with builder clients interested in entering into an agreement with RESNET should contact Steve Baden at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Utility Incentives Bridge the Gap Between Energy Efficiency & Affordability

Many utility providers offer financial incentives to builders and homeowners as a way to encourage and promote building ENERGY STAR qualified homes. Utilities like to promote energy efficiency because it keeps the demand for electricity at a manageable and cost efficient level. Utility providers can
Feature Profile: Progress Energy
Location: Headquarters in Raleigh, NC
Originated: 1908
Provides: 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity
Serves: Over 3 million customers in North and South Carolina and Florida

Awards: Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award

Goals: To pursue a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, including aggressive energy-efficiency programs and investments in renewable energy technologies.

Current Incentives: Homebuilders are offered a variety of incentives which include: $400 rebates for new homes, $350 rebates for manufactured homes, $300 rebates for air-source heat pumps and qualifying air conditioning systems, and $600 rebates for qualifying geothermal heat pumps

Highlight: Owners of ENERGY STAR qualified homes receive a 5% discount on utility bills for the lifetime of the home!

Look For: New residential construction builder incentive packages coming in 2012

Find them at:
increase their own efficiency in production and extend lower prices to their customers. Customers also benefit directly from utility incentives in the form of rebates, loan programs, and giveaways. Sometimes these can be coupled with manufacturer rebates to further reduce the cost to customers.

Progress Energy has set a good example in providing incentives that promote energy efficiency. Other utilities in North Carolina offer incentives for new and existing homes. 

Duke Energy provides homebuilders,  HVAC installers, and homeowners rebates for installing qualified heat pumps and air conditioning systems in new or existing homes.

Randolph Electric Membership Corporation offers homeowners of qualifying energy efficient homes discounted electricity rates and free energy audits.

Before installing any energy efficiency measure in your existing home or buying a new home, be sure to check with your utility provider to see if there is a discount offered.

For a comprehensive list of the most current information on utility provider energy efficiency incentives visit our website at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Feature: Appalachian State Offers FREE Workshops on 2012 Energy Code

Workshops are being offered throughout the State on the new Residential Energy Code. The new code was approved by the NC Building Code Council and goes into effect January 1, 2012. Builders, Designers, Realtors and other Building Professionals are invited to attend these free 3-hour workshops that include lunch and are funded by the North Carolina State Energy Office.

      Topics Covered:
  • Review updates to the code
    • upgraded insulation levels
    • improved window performance
    • building envelope air leakage reduction
    • duct sealing & diagnostic test requirements
    • high-efficacy lighting required
  • (HERO) High Efficiency Residential Option
    • beyond code voluntary program
  • Understand the changes and be prepared to implement them!
This new code increases efficiency standards in residential construction by 15% beyond the code's current standard and 30% with the HERO option. Significant efficiency improvements will save homeowners money on their monthly energy bills and help create jobs in every region in the state. Click on the course location near you for more information and to register, or contact Anna Erwin at 828-262-8331 or