The SAVE Act Gathers Broad-based Support

The SAVE Act

Gathers Broad-based Support

In today’s heated Washington, DC environment, it’s not often that groups like the Center for American Progress and the Chamber of Commerce are on the same page. But that’s what is happening with the “SAVE” Act (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy), which could be a key long-term driver of growth in energy efficiency retrofits. The bill would mandate federal loan agencies to take into account projected energy costs when financing home loans. Efficiency First is part of a large coalition in support of the bill. 

The “Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act,” or SAVE Act, which is expected to be introduced this fall by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would require federal loan agencies to include projected energy costs when financing a house, essentially offering better mortgage values on properties that are more energy efficient.

The U.S. Chamber says the relatively simple bill stands a chance in a tight-fisted and bitterly divided Congress.

“The chamber supports energy efficiency. More importantly, we realized that with the new Congress and political dynamic, it was important to figure out policies and bills that we thought were not only good, but realistic given the fiscal constraint,” said Ross Eisenberg, environment and energy counsel at the U.S. Chamber.

This bill, he said, “promotes efficiency and transparency while not costing the taxpayers anything.”

Currently, property appraisers consider identically sized residences the same, regardless of whether one might offer significant savings on energy bills, said Bob Sahadi, director of energy efficiency finance policy for the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).

“Right now, [appraisers] don’t know how to evaluate the energy efficiency of a home because it’s not something they can feel and touch,” said Sahadi, whose group is spearheading the bill. “We have come up with something that’s really an old concept, which is adding the net present value of energy savings to the appraisal. If a home has energy savings of $200 a month, that’s income that’s available and … added to the appraised value.”

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