Building Efficiency Key to President’s Climate Plan

June 25, 2013 | IMT

IMT STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

June 25, 2013–Washington, DC–Today President Obama announced his administration’s Climate Action Plan, a comprehensive proposal to reduce carbon pollution and avert the effects of climate change. IMT applauds the President for making reductions in building energy use a critical part of his plan. Buildings account for about 40 percent of total energy use and carbon pollution in the United States, more than industry or transportation. Our country cannot take any significant action on climate without tackling the problem of energy waste in buildings.

President Obama notes in the plan: “Energy efficiency upgrades bring significant cost savings, but upfront costs act as a barrier to more widespread investment.” To help overcome this problem, the Federal Housing Administration will convene lenders and other stakeholders at a roundtable to identify options for factoring energy efficiency into the mortgage underwriting and appraisal process for homes.

IMT believes this is a crucial step toward recognizing the “energy blind spot” in current appraisal and underwriting practices. Energy is not yet factored into home loans and appraisals, even though research by the University of North Carolina and IMT shows that mortgages on energy-efficient homes are 32 percent less likely to go into default. A recent National Association of Homebuilders survey found that more than 9 out of 10 home buyers want an energy-efficient home.

IMT applauds other efforts in the plan to ramp up building efficiency, including the expansion of the President’s Better Buildings Challenge; increased funding for rural utilities to finance energy efficiency investments; and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s creation of a Multifamily Energy Innovation Fund.

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ABOUT IMT: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. Much of IMT's work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency. For more information, visit imt.org.

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