Tag Archives: green home

Green Home Could Result in a Larger Loan


Those solar panels or radiant-heated stone floors could help snag a larger home loan under legislation now pending in the U.S. Senate.

The SAVE Act would require Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration about 90 percent of the mortgage market to add energy efficiency to their underwriting policies.

Mortgage lenders and appraisers do not systematically consider the value of a home’s energy-efficient technology, said Robert Sahadi, director of energy efficiency finance policy at the Institute for Market Transformation, a nonprofit Washington D.C. group promoting green building. The organization co-authored the bill.

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“There have been some attempts in the past to do something about it, but they were premature, like 10 years ago, before consumers were really demanding these kinds of homes,” he said.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., filed the bill in June. The bipartisan SAVE Act legislation has dozens of co-sponsors, and support from a broad variety of groups, including real estate agents, consumer organizations and environmental advocates. SAVE stands for Sensible Accounting to Value Energy.

While utility bills are ignored in mortgage underwriting, they usually amount to more money than real estate taxes or homeowner’s insurance, the institute says.

The typical U.S. homeowner pays $2,500 on home energy bills annually, according to the institute. The organization estimates an energy efficient upgrade, even a small one, could reduce a home’s energy bills by 30 percent or more.

The bill would help borrowers in two ways. Lenders would factor in energy cost savings when arriving at a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, which could result in a larger loan. Lenders would add future energy savings to the home’s value, if that is not already reflected in the appraisal.

read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/home/sns-mct-bc-real-solar-loan-20130730,0,7474472.story

Read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/home/sns-mct-bc-real-solar-loan-20130730,0,7474472.story

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Property Spotlight – ‘Active’ House Blends Old and New Style Engery Efficiency


David and Thuy Smith’s new house at 215 Gray Avenue blends well with its neighbors, some more than a century old.

From its clapboard siding and stone-trimmed foundation to its wraparound porch with tapered Craftsman-style columns, the Smiths’ house appears at home, so to speak.

Is there value to making your home energy-efficient?  Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your value questions.

But behind the old-time appearance is the latest in residential energy efficiency and low maintenance. Going green was the Smiths’ goal when they decided in 2011 to leave their 1940s bungalow in Brentwood.

What they are getting in Webster Groves is the first “active” house in North America, according to those involved in the project as well as specialty trade magazines.

“Active” construction combines energy efficiency, healthy indoor air and designs that take advantage of sun, shade and breezes. To compare, “active” house techniques are similar to those in LEED houses in the United States.

An open house is scheduled for today to give builders, real estate brokers and mortgage lenders a chance to inspect the Smiths’ innovative house. A public open house is set for Saturday.

The Smiths and their daughter, Cameron, 6, plan to move in next month.

In his design for the house, architect Jeff Day of St. Louis included numerous skylights to brighten the interior and, when open, to provide ventilation. The broad porch — something common before air-conditioning — shades first-floor rooms and protects part of the home’s fiber cement siding.

Read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/home/sns-mct-active-house-blends-old–and-new-style-energy-20130308,0,7759441.story

Modular Home Being Built In a MultiMillion Dollar Neighborhood – La Jolla

It’s not every day you see up to 60-foot-long, factory-built pieces of a home trucked, lifted and stacked over a course of two days.

Nine pieces that make up a multimillion-dollar “green” project named Casabrava took shape on a prepped site in La Jolla on Thursday and Friday after a trip from a factory in Utah. Over the next two weeks, workers will “stitch” together the pieces to prepare for finishes.

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The project’s vision: Homes made on factory lines can look and feel as sophisticated as traditional homes built on site, said Heather Johnston, an architect and future occupant of Casabrava. Prefabricated construction is also more efficient and more environmentally friendly, Johnston said.

“This is not a manufactured home, which are used for trailers and mobile homes,” said Johnston, who will live in the house with her husband, David Dickins.

“We’re building a prefab home. … They’re basically house parts. And the parts have to be stronger than a normal house because they have to be transported and lifted by a crane.”

Johnston took a year off to work on the project. She said prefab construction, which has been around for decades but has yet to gain wide acceptance, is more time-efficient. It will take roughly nine months to finish Casabrava, from factory build time to finishes on site. A custom home takes about 18 months to be completed, she said.

“This can really affect the bottom line,” she said.

Savings also come from prefab homes being precision-cut, so there’s less waste. Plus, everything is built indoors, so there are fewer delays.

Building Casabrava will end up costing $220 a square foot, based on Johnston’s figures. The home takes up 4,100 square feet, including a three-car garage. The per-square-footage cost is significantly lower than the per-square-footage cost of an home resold in La Jolla. In July, the median price was $518 a square foot, DataQuick numbers show.

The hard costs of the project, including construction and land but not things like permitting, will total roughly $2.6 million.

Over time, Johnston expects to save money on energy by just the way the home is positioned on the site.

The design is meant to increase ventilation and nix the need for an air conditioner. Other green features include rain-catchment systems to water plants and recycled materials