I thought our followers would be interested in Al’s meeting today with Senator Manchin’s Energy and Tax Council in Washington DC. Below is Al’s letter to Senator Manchin in support of the SAVE Act.
June 25, 2012
Dear Senator Manchin:
I am writing to encourage you to support the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act (S. 1737). This important act of legislation would modify mortgage underwriting and appraisal standards to account for the value of energy efficiency—saving money for American homeowners and driving job growth with no new government spending.
As a builder of energy-efficient homes, schools, commercial buildings, and design services, PanelWrights is directly connected to the demand for energy-efficient housing. Removing the impediments to energy-efficient housing in federal mortgage policy will benefit more than just homeowners—it will provide a much needed economic boost for manufacturers like ourselves and the designers, engineers, and independent distributors we work with throughout the state.
I view the SAVE Act as an exemplar of good, bipartisan public policy. The average American homeowner spends over $2,000 each year on energy costs, more than either real estate taxes or home insurance, both of which are regularly accounted for in mortgage underwriting. Yet, conventional underwriting ignores the value of energy savings. The SAVE Act would modify the Department of Housing and Urban Development underwriting guidelines to account for energy costs when determining a homeowner’s debt-to-income ratio for all loans issued, insured, purchased, or securitized by FHA and other federal mortgage loan insurance agencies or their successors.
The SAVE Act would also instruct lenders to account for energy efficiency during home appraisals. This would allow a lender to increase the allowable loan amount for energy-efficient homes relative to inefficient homes. In addition to helping homeowners afford the higher upfront cost of an efficient home, including energy efficiency in the appraisal process will ensure that builders of efficient homes and homeowners who conduct improvements to existing homes receive a fair valuation that considers energy savings.
Homes are responsible for nearly a quarter of all energy consumed in the U.S. – more than $250 billion each year. Simple energy efficiency improvements to new and existing homes have tremendous potential to reduce national energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and promote our energy independence. Best of all, through the SAVE Act energy efficiency can be incentivized at no cost to the American taxpayer.
Finally, I feel that the SAVE Act will help stimulate my business and other businesses like mine across the state and nation. By removing barriers to energy efficiency investments by homeowners and builders, the SAVE Act will increase the demand for energy-efficient homes, putting people in the construction, remodeling and manufacturing sectors back to work.
Shenandoah Junction, WV