Energy Efficiency Update – The Save Act and More

The year is coming to a close and 2013 numbers should continue to show signs of an improving real estate market in the Charlottesville area. We’ll see more sales year over year, increasing median prices, lower inventory, and fewer short sales and foreclosures. All good indicators.

But there is more. The conversation about energy efficiency and our housing continues to gain momentum. Charlottesville continues to be ahead of the curve on this topic. For example, there are 4 builders in the area that account for more than 75% of our new homes. All of them have embraced efficiency and have a third party assign a HERS Rating to all of their homes.  That’s just the top 4. There are other smaller builders doing the same and building some very efficient homes in our market.  But it doesn’t stop with new construction. The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) continues to help homeowners across Virginia increase the energy efficiency of their homes, thus making them more comfortable and saving money. This work has a quantifiable impact on our economy. Check out The 2012 LEAP Annual Report here. (Don’t have time to read it all? Skip to Page 7.)

There is an ongoing conversation about legislation on this topic as well. Last week I was invited to advocate on this topic on Capitol Hill during the Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Day. Several states brought delegations to speak on why this topic is important with their states’ representatives. We were there in specific support of The Shaheen-Portman Bill. (An amendment to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007), The Homes Act (H.R. 2128) and The Save Act. The Homes Act is an effort to create new rebates for energy efficiency improvements for homeowners and the The Save Act is an effort to get consideration for utility savings in the mortgage process.

Connecting the dots to include utility savings as a part of the mortgage qualification process and helping appraisers and underwriters assign value to these improvements is at the heart of the matter. There is a lot going on here and this Washington Post article from last week sums it up nicely.

I have yet to meet anyone who is not interested in having a more comfortable home that costs less to operate.  If this topic is interesting to you, seek the guidance and information you need to become more knowledgeable on this topic. LEAP is a great resource and I am happy to discuss as well.