Is it worth the extra money to build an energy efficient home vs. standard construction?
Benefits to Homeowners
Homeowners enjoy four major benefits from energy-efficient construction: lower utility bills, increased comfort, higher resale value, and qualification for "energy-efficient" mortgages. We'll look briefly at each one.
Lower utility bills are the result of higher construction standards as compared to conventional construction. More insulation, better windows, highly efficient appliances, and wise use of the sun for heating and passive cooling are just some of the major reasons an energy efficient home will have lower utility bills.
Increased comfort is because energy-efficient construction techniques virtually eliminate drafts and temperature gradients that make homeowners feel warmer or colder than they really are.
Higher resale value results from better-constructed, more energy-efficient homes being worth more in the marketplace. (One survey found that 85% of the respondents believe energy-saving features add to a home's resale value.)
Finally, the possibility of qualifying for an "Energy-efficient Mortgage" is a real advantage. Home buyers purchasing an "energy-efficient" home with energy consumption that can be documented may quality for a larger mortgage than they would receive on a "conventional" home. According to the National Association of Realtors, lenders are now looking closely at the projected utility costs for a home in determining whether a "prospective" mortgagor can afford both the monthly mortgage payment and the utility payment.
In addition, The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) have changed their appraisal forms to include energy efficiency. Freddie Mac has changed its purchasing guidelines to permit higher loan-to-income ratios for "energy-efficient" properties.
The bottom line is that more prospective homeowners can qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage on an "energy-efficient" home when lenders examine their ability to repay the mortgage.