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The SAVE Act

Making Homes Efficient and Affordable

Summary

The SAVE Act [S. 1106], introduced on June 6, 2013 by Senators Bennet (D-Colo.) and Isakson (R-Ga.), is legislation to improve the accuracy of mortgage underwriting used by federal mortgage agencies by including a home's expected energy cost savings when determining the value and affordability of energy efficient homes. Utility bills are usually larger than either real estate taxes or homeowners insurance, but they are currently ignored in mortgage underwriting.

The proposal is supported by a diverse coalition of organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Appraisal Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leading Builders of America, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (see full list of SAVE Act Coalition members below).

Benefits

The SAVE Act would help revitalize the hardest hit sectors of the economy by providing lower rate mortgage financing for cost effective energy improvements; giving homebuilders and homeowners the option to recover the cost of efficiency investments; and enabling better federal mortgage underwriting while lowering utility bills for American households. Benefits include:

  • No cost to the taxpayers. The bill does not add to the current deficit or rely on taxes or fees; instead it removes current obstacles holding back more efficient building and remodeling of our homes.
  • Remove an impediment to home energy efficiency from federal mortgage policy. Investments in energy efficiency can offer impressive returns to homeowners, paying for themselves in utility bill savings while also increasing a home’s comfort and mitigating the risks of energy price volatility.
  • Drive business and job growth in the construction and manufacturing sectors. By removing barriers to energy efficiency investments by home owners and builders, the SAVE Act will increase the supply of and demand for energy-efficient new homes and improvements, putting people in the construction, remodeling, and manufacturing sectors back to work.
  • Lower utility bills for American households. The typical U.S. homeowner pays $2,500 on home energy bills each year. A small upfront investment in energy efficiency upgrades could reduce a home’s energy bills by 30% or more and protect against energy price shocks, all while improving the comfort and value of the home.
  • Expand the accessibility and affordability of energy efficient homes. The SAVE Act would allow American home owners to finance cost-effective home energy upgrades as part of their traditional mortgage, improving access to the comfort and money-saving benefits of efficiency without increasing the cost of homeownership. The result is better and cheaper access to capital to invest in making homes better.
  • Appeals to a broad, diverse coalition. The bill brings together a broad and diverse coalition of supporters ranging from the National Association of Realtors and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Alliance to Save Energy.

Press

The New York Times 6/6/13
Bill Would Sweeten Loans for Energy-Efficient Homes

The New York Times 08/25/11   
Strange Bedfellows Back Bill Using Mortgages to Spur Energy Retrofits

The Washington Post 10/28/11  
Mortgage Lenders Could Soon Take Homes’ Energy Costs Into Account

CNBC 11/16/11
People, Planet, & Profit: Value for Energy Savings (Video)
 

SAVE Act Coalition of Supporters

Alliance to Save Energy (ASE)

Earth Advantage Institute

ASHRAE

American Chemistry Council (ACC)

EcoBroker

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

Efficiency First

National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

American Gas Association (AGA)

 

Energy Programs Consortium

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

National Association of Realtors (NAR)

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

American Public Gas Association (APGA)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Appraisal Institute

E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)

Blow In Blanket Contractors Association (BIBCA)

 

Global Green USA

Passive House Institute US (PHIUS)

 

Building Energy Efficient Codes Network (BEECN)

Green Builder Coalition

Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)

California Building Industry Association (CBIA)


Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)

South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER)

California Energy Efficiency Industry Council

Insulation Contractors Association of America (ICAA)

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)

Center for American Progress

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

Southwest Energy Efficiency Partnership (SWEEP)

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT)

International Code Council (ICC)

Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA)

Sierra Club

The Real Estate Roundtable

Consumer Federation of America

Council of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (CNAIMA)

Johns Manville

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Digital Energy & Sustainability Solutions Campaign (DESSC)

Leading Builders of America (LBA)

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)