Buying a home presents opportunities for energy efficiency
Buying a home that is energy efficient can deliver long-term savings in utility and maintenance costs, but it is not always easy to learn about a home’s efficiency during the purchase process.
A new tool called the Home Energy Score ranks a home’s energy efficiency to help buyers understand the home’s advantages or shortcomings. The score, on a simple 1-to-10 scale, informs buyers about energy efficiency upgrades in place, and lists measures still needed to make the home more efficient.
Buyers seeking this information are in good company. A 2015 survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that 85 percent of buyers consider a home’s energy efficiency and its ongoing operating costs as key factors influencing their purchase decision.
Homes that are well-insulated and air-sealed, with high-efficiency heating, cooling and hot water systems, LED lighting, ENERGY STAR appliances, and efficient windows and doors are more appealing because they are more comfortable and less costly to operate.
For a limited time, Garfield Clean Energy’s Sell Smart – Buy Smart – Energy Smart! program, managed by CLEER, is offering a rebate of $150 for homes on the market in Garfield County to help pay for a home energy assessment that includes a Home Energy Score.
If the home energy assessment is conducted prior to closing on the sale, buyers can qualify for the Colorado Energy Saving Mortgage Incentive. The incentive provides up to $3,000 to buy down the cost of energy efficiency upgrades done within 120 days after the closing. Funds are limited, so please contact Garfield Clean Energy or the Colorado Energy Office for program details and availability.
Funding for the home energy assessment and the Energy Saving Mortgage Incentive comes from the Colorado Energy Office.
Other rebates and mortgage incentives, such as the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage and the Fannie Mae Home Style Energy loan, also are available to home buyers who want to invest in the improved energy efficiency of their new home.
These benefits all start with the Home Energy Score, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to quantify the energy efficiency of a home similar to a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating.
The score is a nationwide tool that is calibrated geographically, so a home score of 5 equals the amount of energy used by an average home in the local area.
A score of 6 to 10 means the home uses less energy than the average home in the area, while a score of 1 to 4 means the home is using more energy than average and could benefit from energy efficiency upgrades.
Garfield Clean Energy provides free energy consulting for home buyers to make smart decisions about energy upgrades, evaluate contractor bids and make the most of rebates and incentives.
And the Garfield Clean Energy website features a new set of pages for the Sell Smart – Buy Smart – Energy Smart! program, with information for buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and lenders.
Home buyers looking for more information about energy efficiency can learn more at GarfieldCleanEnergy.org or by calling CLEER at 970-704-9200.
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