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  Goldwater Newsletter-GEM Blog  |  August 2016    


Choosing the Right Green-High-Performance Builder

high performance builders courtesy of builders magazine

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


How to Choose the Right Green-High-Performance Builder for Your Project or Community

So you have found the perfect parcel of land; or have an existing home that needs updating, but how do you choose a builder that is reputable, competent and skilled in the art of high-energy performance or green building?

Some folks start with the architect to provide plans and specifications, then find their builder. This is an important step in defining building performance modeling.  You should request your architect (AIA Certifiedpreferred) to conduct certified audits, or energy performance modeling with your plans. Including a Manual J, HVAC calculation,  to ensure the HVAC system, or heating and cooling BTUs, are the right size for your project is a critical component of green building practices.

Incorporating these practices will allow your builder to follow plans to include ALL required building performance modeling and energy efficiency requirements.  Energy performance modeling also helps define the budget and can actually reduce costs and waste.  Also having your home audited and certified by a recognized building science expert can lead to higher prices and faster sales; not to mention the energy savings, greater comfort and health benefits!

The plans and specifications should include all energy performance measures; you can always tweak the specs to lower the budget if necessary. However, energy performance upgrades should be the last thing you delete from your plans and specs; considerations for deleting amenities that aren’t tied to performance, i.e., finishes, can help balance the budget.

The green market place is still in infancy, with energy reduction standards lacking in many US regions, making it difficult to differentiate builders and their quality of  building performance.   It can be a challenge to vet green builders and determine which ones will be a good fit for your project.  That is assuming there are qualified, certified high-performance builders in your city.   The National Association of Home Builders, along with municipalities or utility companies offer listings for contractors or builders in their area.

What if More Efficient Homes Were Actually Worth More? 

Posted by tedkidd on August 20, 2016 at 8:00am in General Forum  or  View Discussions    originally posted here 

What if it was easy to find out how much energy a home uses and how much that energy costs? It could unlock a whole new market that doesn’t exist today worth hundreds of billions. According to an Elevate Energy study, Chicago homes that disclosed energy costs sold almost ⅓ faster (43 vs. 63 days) and had higher deal closing rates (63% vs. 53%).

Barry Haaser and Jeremy Roberts at the Green Button Alliance noted studies in Illinois and Washington DC that said simply disclosing energy costs raised average sale prices by $4000, regardless of energy use. Transparency is the likely reason for this - there is less uncertainty and friction in the transaction. Putting a metric on energy use that is easily comparable between homes could begin to value efficient homes more in addition to this effect.

The question becomes what metric(s) is best for doing this? Rather than a laundry list, we need to focus on one or two that could fit in a 50x75 pixel box on MLS. If Zillow/Trulia added it to their listings, that could be the essential first step. I propose Energy Use Intensity, or EUI as kBTU/square foot/year. The rest of this article will show my reasoning.

Focusing down to one or two metrics forces us to think of them in multiple levels. The metric we should be looking for is top level, similar to combined city and highway mileage for a new car.

That helps narrow the field of what vehicles to consider, once we narrow down, then we dig deeper into more metrics like what city and highway mileage are, horsepower, safety features, etc  Continue Reading



Fannie Mae Improves Options for Energy Efficiency Financing

HomeStyle Energy Mortgage Makes Refinancing Loans, Financing New Improvements Easier

Andrew Wilson, March 30, 2016 

WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) has introduced HomeStyle® Energy mortgage, an enhanced option for borrowers who want to finance energy and water efficiency improvements to their home.  Borrowers with an existing, higher-interest energy improvement loan, can more easily roll that loan into a new mortgage or into a refinance of an existing mortgage. 

In addition, borrowers will have options to finance new energy upgrades when purchasing or refinancing a home.  HomeStyle Energy mortgage can be used on 1-4 unit properties, including condominium units, and is available for all approved Fannie Mae lenders.  Continue Reading



Freddie Mac Multifamily Launches Green Advantage(SM) to Promote Affordable, Resource-Efficient Rentals

MCLEAN, VA--(Market wired - Aug 8, 2016) -  Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today launched the Freddie Mac Multifamily Green Advantage(SM), a flexible, cost-effective suite of offerings to finance resource-efficient multifamily rental housing that is available with most Freddie Mac multifamily loan products.

Under Green Advantage, borrowers can choose either Green Up(SM) or Green Up Plus(SM) to get better pricing and increase their Freddie Mac loan amounts to finance energy and water efficiency improvements on multifamily properties. Freddie Mac will reimburse all or part of the cost of the energy audit borrowers used to identify cost-saving features and improvements for their approved loan.  Continue Reading



The World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report

The World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, presented by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, provides new world green building trends data to support green building development. By expanding the scope of the World Green Building Trends SmartMarket Report, published in 2013, this study demonstrates that green building continues to influence construction in both developed and developing economies. Continue Reading



"GEM": The Word on the Street

Book Cover


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



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