The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does much to promote energy efficiency in the nation's buildings. And tax incentives are among the engines driving the shift. That's great news for you and your clients.Here is a sampling of the new federal incentives as reported by the Tax Incentives Assistance Project.Residential Buildings
Learn more about the incentives stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and download a matrix of energy efficiency incentives.Individual states offer additional energy efficiency and renewable energy tax incentives. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a central clearinghouse for them.
Just when you think energy efficient mortgages and tie-dyed t-shirts are a thing of the past – they're back! But you don't have to wear love beads to take advantage of Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) and Energy Improvement Mortgage (EIM) programs.EEMs apply to homes that already meet a higher energy standard. This may be a new energy-efficient home that is Energy Star qualified or meets the National Association of Home Builders Green Standard or the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. Or it may simply be a very efficiently built home.EIMs are available for homes needing energy improvements, with the costs of these improvements added to the mortgage. An EIM is not a second loan. Although the monthly mortgage payments increase, the overall cost to operate the home declines due to lower utility bills. Meanwhile, the world wins through conservation of precious resources.So what are the typical improvements? The usual suspects include insulation, new windows, new heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.With the "normalization" of lending practices with crazy conditions like verified income, down payment and reasonable credit, the energy-efficient option creates more leverage. The EIM "stretch" allows a buyer to purchase more home for the money. To qualify, the home needs to be tested through the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), which shows the savings that would result from energy-efficient improvements. The savings are added to the borrower's income on conventional-type loans. Two percentage points are added to the qualifying ratios for Federal Housing Administration loans or Veterans Administration loans.The good – and bad – news is that in many markets, home prices are down. Rates are very low. And now with the EEM or EIM lift, homes are even more affordable. Energy improvements make that affordability even more attractive.Realtors® with NAR's GREEN Designation know the importance of energy efficiency and the EEM and EIM options. To find a rater in your area, go to the Residential Energy Services Network webpage at www.natresnet.org.Be sure your lender knows about and offers EEM and EIM mortgages. Tie-dyed t-shirt optional.Dave Porter is a national speaker, trainer and writer on green and energy efficiency construction, marketing and lending. He is a certified trainer for the NAR GREEN Designation as well as the NAHB Certified Green Professional Designation. He can be reached at 206-304-8228 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use computer and monitor power management. Doing so can save nearly half a ton of CO2 and more than $60 a year in energy costs. Turn off peripherals such as printers, scanners and speakers when not in use, and turn down the brightness setting on your monitor. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting. Source: Climate Savers Computing