Several federal proposals designed to spur the sales of green homes, which also could coax more homeowners to invest in energy upgrades, are underway. The federal Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (Save) Act would allow home buyers to qualify for larger loans on energy efficient residences. Meanwhile, the real estate industry is concurrently striving to standardize and improve how it reports and assesses energy improvements for existing homes so that house hunters who desire green features can more easily find them. The Save Act would basically let lenders tally energy savings as part of the buyers’ income, while appraisers could include energy features in their calculations of a home’s value. “The mortgage underwriting standards would stretch the values of an energy efficient home because it would cost the consumer less over time,” says Conservation Services Group CEO Steve Cowell. “Looking at operating costs as well as initial fixed costs gives a more accurate picture.” The Save Act is pending in the Senate, but is solely applicable to loans supported by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration. In the meantime, the National Association of Realtors is developing a turnkey solution for local MLS listings to include fields on energy efficiency, while the National Home Performance Council and CNT Energy recently issued a study on how greater transparency around energy efficiency would encourage homeowners to invest in such enhancements. | Read More