Data on whether energy efficient homes truly reduce risk hasn’t been clear — until now. “We found that ENERGY STAR(R) certification reduces default and payment risk,” says Nikhil Kazah, a researcher at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital. Kazah was referring to an empirical study released on March 19 by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) comparing ENERGY STAR-certified homes to standard homes. Kazah and his colleagues reviewed nearly 30,000 single-family ENERGY STAR residences around the country and compared them to 71,000 conventional homes. The study found that ENERGY STAR homes were 32 percent less likely to go into default. “We’ve been talking about this for a while, but now we have the data to back it up,” says Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. “It’s time now to fix mortgage underwriting guidelines to consider energy efficiency.” “It looks like the people who are buying energy efficient homes are similar to the ones who are not. [These factors] might change the result slightly, but it doesn’t lead me to question it,” says Mike Frantantoni of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Those advocating for revised lending standards say it’s time to include energy consumption as a factor. | Read More