Sens. Bennet & Isakson Introduce SAVE Act to Factor Energy Costs Into Mortgage Lending

October 19, 2011 | IMT

Washington, D.C. – October 19, 2011 – Today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act. The SAVE Act instructs federal loan agencies to assess a borrower’s expected energy costs when financing a mortgage.

Although the average American homeowner spends over $2,000 per year on energy costs – more than on either property taxes or home insurance – current underwriting rules do not take those costs into account. The SAVE Act would remove this blind spot and improve lending standards.

In addition, the SAVE Act would enable more homeowners to finance the cost of energy efficiency improvements as part of their mortgage, lowering their utility bills for years to come. The bill would increase demand for energy-efficient new homes and improvements, creating an estimated 83,000 jobs across the U.S. economy and $1.1 billion in consumer energy savings by 2020, according to an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).

“Right now, federal mortgage underwriting rules don’t factor in the second-biggest cost of home ownership: energy bills. That leaves mortgages more vulnerable as energy costs rise,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. “The SAVE Act will improve mortgage rules by correcting this blind spot. It will also make energy-efficient homes and home improvements more affordable, at no cost to the taxpayer. Increased demand will drive job growth in the construction and renovation industry.”

Backing the SAVE Act is a broad coalition of business, real estate and industry groups and environmental organizations, including: IMT, the Leading Builders of America, the Appraisal Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the American Gas Association, the Center for American Progress, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. A full list of coalition members, the job creation analysis, and a fact sheet on the SAVE Act can be found at imt.org/save-act.

Homes are responsible for nearly a quarter of all energy consumed in the U.S. – more than $250 billion each year. The SAVE Act would dramatically ramp up home efficiency to save American consumers money, strengthen our nation’s economy, protect our health and environment, and reduce our dependence on imported energy.

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About IMT: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a 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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