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  Goldwater Newsletter-GEM Blog  |  July 2016    

       

 Choosing the Right Land for Green Building

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Final Logo.pngby Teresa Lopez, CEO Green Energy Money, July 2016 

   

One of the most important components of green building is the land you choose to build your project.

There are multitudes of factors that must be considered when choosing the perfect parcel of earth to develop.  Making the wrong choice could cause major delays and drive up project costs.  In the real estate and finance world, it’s all about marketability.   In other words, is the property desirable for the neighborhood or region; is the best use of the land optimal? Would other buyers find the property desirable or is the project too unique? The appraiser, underwriter, title insurance company and the builder will all help determine if the land conforms to the market and meets city or municipality guidelines.  But doing your homework prior to lender valuations can save money and time.  

Among the first criteria in the design phase is determining if the orientation of the property you are planning to build optimizes either passive or solar gain.  In some cases that incredible view you want to capture may be lost due to improper building orientation; or you may incur an increase in the building costs in order to mitigate a passive design challenge that can accommodate a desirable view.  

Typically, the lower the price for the land, the more likely it’s in a rural area or may have topography or entitlement issues.   Land with exceptional views may be attractive, but there may be hidden costs to cure title issues; or land excavation costs could dramatically increase to the budget.  Cheaper priced lots tend to be less desirable or marketable and can pose a financing challenge. Financing options are limited for land acquisitions; usually local banks and credit unions offer 30, 20 and 15 year term loans.   Short-term interest only loans might be offered if plans to build are within the first year of the land purchase.  Most construction loans require the land be titled in the borrower’s name and, if the land is financed, it must be paid off and included in the construction loan.  

Understand more about Land Acquisition with the Building Design Checklist available through GreenEnergy.Money  

 

 

In 'Win-Win for People and Climate,' Obama Announces Solar-Boosting Initiative

'Expanding clean energy access for low- and moderate-income families is the fair thing to do and it makes smart economic sense.'    

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer Common Dreams; July 20, 2016

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a series of measures aimed at boosting access to solar energy—a move one environmental group hailed as "a win-win for people and for our climate."

It's called the Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative, and, according to Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists, it "sets some exciting goals"—like bringing 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020—and marks "a crucial step forward in helping to ensure that the benefits of the clean energy transition accrue to all."

Among the initiative's noteworthy components, writes Philip Henderson, financial policy expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, are that:

  • Thousands of homeowners who purchase or refinance their houses with mortgages supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs will be able to use a new kind of home improvement loan—"PACE" financing—which is designed to provide the funds needed to make efficiency repairs, improvements, or add solar panels. [...]

  • Dozens of communities will receive assistance to implement Community Solar initiatives—an important way for families—including renters—to participate in a solar electricity facility without investing in panels installed on their own property.​​​ [...]

  • States will have new flexibility to use funds from LIHEAP (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) to help low-income customers repair their homes and apartments to prevent high utility bills, instead of using the funds to simply pay a portion of the families' utility bills.


 

 

 

http://abogo.cnt.org/assets/images/ht-affordability-icon.pngNew Housing + Transportation Affordability Index Tool

The new Abogo Tool helps individuals and families budget transportation costs (current and future) and also calculates how much carbon your car will generate. 

Abogo is powered by the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing + Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index. Instead of simply counting your housing costs to determine a location’s affordability, the H+T Index also includes the cost of transportation. This gives you a more complete sense of how the neighborhood fits into your budget.  See the Map

The H+T® Index provides a more complete measure of affordability.

 

 

 

 

The Best Ways to Keep Mosquitos Away

By Heather Bailey, SaveOnEnergy.com, July 2016

With summer in full swing, you're probably already thinking about how to avoid mosquitoes. There are many reasons to do so, least of which is the annoying itch their bites can cause. In addition to viruses such as West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis, now there's Zika to worry about.

The World Health Organization has declared Zika virus and the explosion of birth defects in Brazil a public health emergency, and medical experts are calling for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to be moved due to the threat.
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"GEM": The Word on the Street

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The Green Energy Money financial tools and valuation methods add tremendous value to our HERS Index and building performance analytic certifications. We are motivated to support GEM in their development of economic solutions to provide ‘true’ cost benefits to building owners across the country.  Now our energy rating and building science industry finally has a way to provide the financial markets with the ability to quantify their risk and financially reward building owners with incentivized high-performance building loans and appraisals necessary for mass market adoption. 

— Steve Baden, Executive Director, RESNET  www.resnetus.org

 

 

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