Cold? Warm Up With An Energy-Efficient Mortgageby Tim Manni
It seems as though almost the entire nation is caught in the grasp of Old Man Winter. When temperatures in Florida dip into the 30’s you know it’s trouble for lots of folks. Here in the North East, 20 degree temps and howling winds are becoming uncomfortably normal.
With speculation that this winter could be the worst in 25 years, it’s the perfect time to consider making some home improvements that can help to keep your energy bill from soaring through the roof. Whether you’re buying a new home, or looking to retrofit your existing dwelling, there are several energy-efficient options that can both lower your energy bills and get you a tax credit at the same time.
For homebuyers, “An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home’s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself,” according to EnergyStar.gov. “EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.”
For existing homeowners looking to make energy-efficient improvements, there are a wealth of options available, including the energy-improvement mortgage as well as state and Federal incentives to take advantage of. The president’s “Cash for Caulkers” program is a national incentive that credits homeowners between about $1,000-$3,000 for energy-efficient improvements.
Click here view a list from EnergyStar.gov that runs down which energy-efficient products can get you a Federal tax credit and for how much.
Beyond the Federal programs, individual states are offering their own energy-efficient incentives. To find out what incentives your state has to offer, be sure to check out the “Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency” (DSIRE).
Energy-efficient homes are becoming a growing focus for the “green” community, since, according to the Boston Globe, “…homes are responsible for 21 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, twice as much as passenger cars.”
If your goal is to see your electric meter slow to a crawl, energy-efficient mortgages and improvements are the first step.
Has anyone out there made an energy-efficient improvement to their home? If so, how are they working out?