Despite a lack of media attention, a new bill introduced to the Senate on Wednesday could mean huge savings for American homes. Called the SAVE Act (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy), the proposed legislation will require mortgage providers to factor energy costs into mortgages that will allow homeowners to finance energy efficiency retrofits through their mortgages. In turn, the bill would help accelerate the supply and demand for energy-efficient new homes, reduce utility bills for American homeowners and create thousands of jobs.
The average homeowner spends more on energy costs than on real estate taxes or home insurance, according to the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). Under the new bill, new guidelines would be issues through the Department of housing and Urban Development (HUD) to give American consumers a better picture of how much energy they're using in order to help them make better purchasing decisions and evaluate the need for energy upgrades. Furthermore, the act would allow homeowners to finance energy efficiency retrofits through their mortgages.
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The bi-partisan bill, introduced by Senators Bennet (D-Co.) and Isakson (R-Ga.), is supported by a diverse coalition of organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Appraisal Institute and the U.S .Green Building Council among others. According to a recent joint analysis from the American Council for an Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEE) and the IMT, the SAVE act is estimated to create 83,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in consumer energy bill savings by 2020.
“As someone who has 30 years of experience in the resident real estate industry and who has lived through multiple recessions, I understand that recovery in the housing market and job creation in the construction sector is pivotal to getting our economy back on track,” said Isakson. “I place my support behind this bill because it has the potential to create jobs without any cost to taxpayers, and it will also improve mortgage underwriting in this country by including energy as a factor in the proccess.”