Tuesday, February 3, 2015
From the Energy Efficient Mortgage Home Owner Guide (US Department of  Housing and Urban Development)

THE ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGE means comfort and savings. When you are buying, selling, refinancing, or remodeling your home, you can increase your comfort and actually save money by using the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). It is easy to use, federally recognized, and can be applied to most home mortgages. EEMs provide the borrower with special benefits when purchasing a home that is energy efficient, or can be made efficient through the installation of energy-saving improvements.

Homeowners with lower utility bills have more money in their pocket each month. They can afford to allocate a larger portion of their income to housing expenses. If you have more cash, why not buy a better, more comfortable home? There are two options with the Energy Efficient Mortgage.


Finance Energy Improvements!

 - Cost-effective energy-saving measures may be financed as part of the mortgage!
 - Make an older, less efficient home more comfortable and affordable!

Increase Your Buying Power!

 - Stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans for energy-efficient homes!
 - Qualify for a larger loan amount! Buy a better, more energy efficient home!



 - Qualify for a larger loan on a better home!
 - Get a more comfortable home NOW.
 - Save money every month from Day One.
 - Increase the potential resale value of your home.


 - Sell your home more quickly.
 - Make your house affordable to more people.
 - Attract attention in a competitive market.


 - Get all the EEM benefits without moving.
 - Make improvements which will actually save you money.
 - Increase the potential resale value of your home.

Pay for energy improvements easily, through your mortgage. Your lender can increase your loan to cover energy improvement costs. Monthly mortgage payments increase slightly, but you actually save money because your energy bills will be lower!

HERS, or Home Energy Rating Systems

HERS report is similar to a miles-per-gallon rating on a car. HERS are programs which provide evaluations of an individual home’s energy-efficiency. A HERS report is prepared by a trained Energy Rater. Factors such as insulation, appliance efficiencies, window types, local climate, and utility rates are used to rate the home and calculate energy costs.

A HERS Report Includes:

 - Overall Rating Index of the house as it is.
 - Recommended cost-effective energy upgrades.
 - Estimates of the cost, annual savings, and useful life of upgrades.
 - Improved Rating Index after the installation of recommended upgrades.
 - Estimated annual total energy cost for the existing home before and after upgrades.

A Rating Index is between 1 and 100. A lower index indicates greater efficiency. Cost-effective upgrades are those which will save more money through energy savings than they cost to install.

A HERS rating usually costs between $300 and $800. This could be paid for by the buyer, seller, lender, or real estate agent. Sometimes the cost of the rating may be financed as part of the mortgage. No matter how the rating is paid for, it is a very good investment because an EEM could save you or your buyer hundreds of dollars each year.


Energy-efficient homes cost less to own than non-efficient homes, though they may start off with higher price tags.

                                         Older             Same Home with
                                    existing home     energy improvements

Home price                            $ 150,000             $ 154,816
 (90% mortgage, 8% interest)

Loan amount                           $ 135,000             $ 139,334

Monthly payment*                      $     991             $   1,023

Energy bills                        + $     186          +  $      93

The true monthly

cost of home ownership                $   1,177             $   1,116

Monthly savings                                          -  $      61

Estimated mortgage payments are based upon principle and interest only, and do not include taxes and insurance. Value indicated here is for comparison only, and will vary from home to home.Many homes qualify for energy upgrades. This home qualified for $4,816 in upgrades. With the EEM, lenders recognize the savings the upgrades will bring. Borrowers may use these potential savings like extra cash, and add the cost of upgrades into the mortgage, paying them off easily as part of the monthly mortgage payment. Once the upgrades are installed the potential savings turn into real savings.

Another EEM option is for the lender to allow higher qualifying ratios for borrowers who will occupy a property meeting certain standards for energy efficiency. When the home has been built or retrofitted in conformance with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards for 2000 or later, then the lender may “stretch” the borrower’s qualifying ratios. A debt-to-income ratio “stretch” means that a larger percentage of the borrower’s monthly income can be applied to the monthly mortgage payment. That means the buyer has more borrowing power based up on the same income.


For a standard home without energy improvements:

Buyer’s total monthly income $5,000
Maximum allowable monthly payment 29% debt-to-income ratio $1,450
Maximum mortgage at 90% of appraised home value $207,300

For an energy-efficient homes (2000 IECC)*:

Buyer’s total monthly income $5,000
Maximum allowable monthly payment 33% debt-to-income ratio $1,650
Maximum mortgage at 90% of appraised home value $235,900

Added borrowing power due to the Energy Efficient Mortgage: $28,600

*Interest rate 7.5%, downpayment of 10%, 30-year term, principal & interest only (tax & insurance not factored.)

In other words:

This buyer got into a home worth thousands of dollars more, just because it was energy efficient. That could mean a home with more space, in a better location, or in better overall condition.

FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program

The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage covers upgrades for new and existing homes and is now available in all 50 states. Key features includes:

 - Loan limits may be exceeded
 - No re-qualifying
 - No additional down payment
 - No new appraisal

The FHA 203(k) loan enables a home buyer to obtain a single loan to finance both property acquisition and to complete major improvements after loan closing and can be combined with FHA’s EEM.


Customer Quote: “The EEM was the second best thing that ever happened to me. The first best was actually being able to buy a home. This is our first home, and the EEM saved us a lot of headaches because we knew what we needed to do to the house. It’s nice and comfortable now. Even my dogs are happy. I am very impressed.” -Pat Theard

First-time home buyers Patricia and Mynette Theard purchased their home in California. It was built in 1940, and sold for $150,000. They got an FHA loan for 95% of the value of the property. The lender saw an opportunity for them to improve on their investment and recommended an Energy Efficient Mortgage.

A HERS Rating on the home recommended $2,300 in energy improvements including ceiling, floor and furnace duct insulation, plus a setback thermostat. The lender set aside an extra $2,300 for the improvements, bringing the total loan amount from $142,500 to $144,800. The loan closed, the Theards moved in, and the improvements were installed. The monthly mortgage payment increased by $17, but the Theards are saving $45 each month through lower utility bills.

Ask your lender about an Energy Efficient Mortgage. If they are not knowledgeable about the EEM, encourage them to learn about it, or find another lender.


All buyers who qualify for a home loan qualify for the EEM. The EEM is intended to give the buyer additional benefits on top of their usual mortgage deal. The lender will use the energy efficiency of the house, as determined by a HERS rating, to determine what these benefits will be.

Energy Efficient Mortgages can be used on most homes. Availability is not limited by location, home price or utility company. Your lender will help you choose which loan type is best for you.

Get an EEM on:

 - Older homes qualifying for upgrades
 - New or old homes not requiring upgrades
 - New construction


It is best to have the HERS Rating done as early in the loan process as possible. This way, the Rating can be performed while other aspects of the loan are being processed. Closing the loan should not be delayed. You may get a larger tax deduction with the EEM because the interest on mortgage payments is tax deductible. This can save you more money than paying for energy upgrades with a credit card, bank loan, or cash, none of which are usually tax deductible.

Each house is as unique as its owner. Benefits derived from the EEM will vary from one house to another, and the benefits in the examples in this book may not apply in all cases. Your lender will be your best source of information on your own EEM benefits.


Adding Energy Improvements through a Home Refinance

It’s wonderful. We’re just amazed at the difference. We’ve hardly used the furnace all winter. The house is much quieter too. It makes sense for everyone to do it.” -Caroline Chang

In the fall of 1995, Caroline and Tommy Chang decided to refinance their 35-year-old home to take advantage of lower interest rates. Their lender suggested they get a HERS Rating on the home so they could finance energy improvements through their new mortgage deal as well.

The lender increased the loan by $8,760 to cover the cost of energy improvements. Their final loan amount was $176,400, which is higher than they could have gotten with out the EEM. The loan closed and the improvements were installed. These included double-paned windows, wall insulation, ceiling insulation, furnace duct repairs and insulation, and a few smaller items. These improvements, combined with their lower mortgage interest rate, mean the Changs will be saving about $230 per month. They will be more comfortable too!

A house could be your biggest investment ever. Use the Energy Efficient Mortgage and invest wisely.

To find out how, call the organizations listed on the back cover.

With an Energy Efficient Mortgage, you can START SAVING MONEY TODAY.  Contact Us for a pre-qualification site assessment.

Disclaimer Statement

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Department of Energy do not endorse nor imply endorsement of any product, service, individual or company mentioned and/or involved in this publication. Anyone undertaking to rely on particular details contained herein shall do so at his/her own risk and should independently use and/or verify their applicability to a given situation.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, 1996, all rights reserved.

Publication developed by:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Consumer Energy Management
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San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 800) 933-9555

Pacific Gas and Electric

Produced cooperatively by:
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Building Technology
State and Community Programs
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Washington, DC 20585
Phone: (800) 363-3732

Department of Energy

Alliance to Save Energy
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 857-0666

Federal Citizen Information Center
Pueblo, CO 81009
Phone: (719) 948-4000 (for catalogs only)

Dan Harding recently wrote a post about the BP Republicans in Congress. Those are the no-brainers like Joe Barton who apologized to the now infamous oil (spilling) company because President Obama took some semblance of leadership on the issue by forcing BP to set aside billions for the relief effort.

bipartisan oil money

The actual list of BP Republicans was put together by the Democratic National Committee and Dan took a lot of guff for harboring “one-sided,” “partisan” and [insert other buzzword] politics.

Now while Dan regrets no part of the word-lashing he gave these frankly out-of-touch and steeped-in-oil-money Republicans (Joe Barton is the leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives), those who admonished Dan are not wrong, either.

oil money bp republicans

Obviously, the DNC is not an impartial source of information, and while Barton and the BP Republicans are, in Dan’s opinion, fools, at least they had the wherewithal to openly stand up for their benefactors. Many Democrats in Congress will loudly scold BP for its negligence and incompetence but quietly take their money at the same time, defending them in any way they can in the legislative process (i.e. yell NAY, vote YEA).

Democrat Chet Edwards (TX) is the second-leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives.

bp oil spill logoSo Dan thought hard about writing up a “Who are the BP Democrats?” piece in fairness, and knowing even without looking at any data that perhaps the only non-partisan deals in Washington were political contributions, especially from the energy industry. However, when Dan did look at the data, he noticed BP contributions were small potatoes in the grand scheme of oil and gas donations; BP is not even in the top 75 percent of total contributions by company in either house.

Nevertheless, oil money flows freely and abundantly throughout Congress, and like tributaries, the majority of senators and representatives feed into a system that carefully and quietly protects dirty energy interests.

The proof-laden pudding containing all this information regarding oil money is a web tool developed by Oil Change International. There you can follow every dime of oil money straight to its Congressperson.

For instance, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has accepted nearly $34,000 of oil money since 1999, although very little since 2002, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Kerry’s co-author of recent climate change legislation, has received nearly $100,000 since 1999.

You can also check contributions during political campaigns. Barack Obama received $898, 251 from oil companies during his winning 2008 campaign, most of that coming from ExxonMobil ($113,646). BP gave President Obama $39,405.

Obama’s rival, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), blew everybody out of the water in oil contributions. He pulled in more than $2.4 million from oil and gas companies, spread out over a wide range of sources. McCain did receive a comparatively small $18,850 from BP.

Bear in mind that every major party candidate, including the likes of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, and Bill Richardson, took money from oil companies during their 2008 campaign. And in an election system where the candidate with the most money tends to win, who’s going to turn it down?congress oil money Not to excuse politicians that prize oil companies over constituents, but the problem may be more systemic than it is individual.

The oil and gas industry has in the realm of 600 registered lobbyists pestering Capitol Hill, and three out of every four of them once worked for the federal government. That, in political jargon, is what you call a revolving door (by far the most used door in D.C.).

How does an out-of-work shrimper in Louisiana stand up against that?

Whether Republican or Democrat, the money can be followed — as required by law — and it’s important that we follow it. This way, we can know why on one hand John Kerry wants to put a cap on carbon emissions but on the other votes no on ending tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Here are the top 10 recipients of oil and gas contributions in each house during the current 111th Congress:

Top Ten House Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX) – $85,770
  2. Chet Edwards (D-TX) – $73,430
  3. Michael Conaway (R-TX) – $72,800
  4. Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $69,400
  5. David Daniel Boren (D-OK) – $65,100
  6. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) – $64,750
  7. Peter G. Olson (R-TX) – $54,400
  8. Michael Avery Ross (D-AR) – $54,250
  9. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) – $49,450
  10. John Calvin Fleming Jr. (R-LA) – $44,800

Top Ten Senate Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR) – $216,700
  2. David Vitter (R-LA) – 170,200
  3. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – $146,550
  4. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) – $117,650
  5. John Cornyn (R-TX) – $87,575
  6. Thomas Coburn (R-OK) – $76,500
  7. Arlen Specter (D-PA) – $74,000
  8. Byron Dorgon (D-ND) – $70,950
  9. Evan Bayh (D-IN) – $62,150
  10. James Demint (R-SC) – $58,850

Look to Oil Change International to learn more about oil contributions for these as well as your own representatives in Congress. Follow the money and then follow their actions. Connections between the two are hard to miss.

Also check out OpenSecrets.org for more comprehensive information on campaign contributions to senators and representatives

Escape the Energy Insanity

Contact Us to take control of your energy future and opt out of big oil and the special-interest legislators.

At Certified Solar Solutions, our mission is to bring efficient and cost effective renewable energy to our clients, while being environmentally conscious. We strive to empower our clients to reduce their reliance on less sustainable electric utilities and lead the way into Green alternatives.

We use the process known as photovoltaic, with which you can harness the natural power of the sun’s rays to provide electricity, heat, and cooling for your property.

Contact Us For A Solar Evaluation Of Your Home, We Would Love To Help You.

Why Go Solar?

  • Generate Your Own Power (Be More Self Sufficient)
  • Cost Effective (Reduce Your Dependency On The Rising Rates Of Electric Companies)
  • Act Now And Receive The Missouri Utility Rebates For Each Watt Installed
  • Take a 30% Federal Tax Rebate Incentive also
  • The Power Company Will Pay You For Excess Power Generated
  • Better On The Environment–Cleaner & More Sustainable Energy Than Traditional Electric Power

CSS’s capabilities include:

Site evaluation for selection of optimum PV technology and best location on your property.

Determine PV capacity to optimize your use of electricity.

In-House Design and Engineering drawings with PE (Professional Engineer) sign off and in-house installation crews.

Extensive knowledge of Photovoltaic substrate technology, including: Crystalline and Amorphous Silicon, CIGS and Si string technology to match the best system to your needs.

Access to numerous module and BIPV (Building-Integrated Photovoltaic) designs to fit your needs.

Coal power's carbon savior could double its water woes

Photo: Volker Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images BY Samuel K. Moore // June 2010

NOTE: this article originally apeared in the IEEE Spectrum Magazine online edition.  One of our founders is a long-time member of IEEE and we gratefully acknowledge their publication of this article.

Despite all the talk of moving to greener energy sources, coal will be with us for the foreseeable future. But if we’re really serious about cutting carbon dioxide emissions, coal plants everywhere will need to substantially reduce the billions of metric tons of CO2 they annually emit into the atmosphere. The big hope is that in the next few years the plants will begin capturing and storing a large portion of that CO2 deep underground, in the oceans, or in mineral form.

But the technology needed to capture carbon has a huge downside: It could nearly double the amount of water a plant uses for every kilowatt of electricity it delivers—easily erasing any gains from techniques aimed at conserving water and reducing thermal pollution.

"This technology was not developed in a water-constrained environment," says Jared Ciferno, technology manager for the existing plants program of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). "The bottom line is that [carbon] capture takes energy, and that translates to additional water use."

Just how much water is pretty shocking. By 2030, the addition of carbon-capture technology would boost water consumption in the U.S. electricity sector by 80 percent, or about 7500 megaliters per day, according to research at NETL, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. For plants in water-stressed areas, that’s a deal breaker. "It is not likely that there is enough water supply available to any of our plants to allow for double the water use," says John Coggins, manager of resource planning at Salt River Project, a water and energy utility in Arizona.

The 80 percent figure assumes that the electricity generation lost to powering the carbon-capture system is made up for by adding more water-cooled coal-fired power. In other words, for a 550-megawatt plant to both capture its carbon and still deliver 550 MW of electricity, it would need to add more than 125 MW of additional generating capability to cover the energy used in capture. If you don’t make up for the lost generation, or make it up in some way that requires no water and emits no carbon—with a wind farm, say—the additional water consumption is more like 40 to 50 percent, according to NETL’s Ciferno.

That’s still a lot of water. For coal power plants, the state-of-the-art carbon-capture technology is known as amine-based wet scrubbing [see "Catching Carbon," above]. It’s basically the technology that puts the fizz in your Fanta. First, the plant’s flue gas is scrubbed of sulfurous nasties; what’s left is a mixture of nitrogen, water vapor, and CO2. An amine solution then reacts with the CO2, yielding a gas stream of mostly nitrogen, which goes out the smokestack, and a CO2-rich amine solution. The solution is heated to strip the CO2 from the amines. The CO2 is then cooled and compressed for storage, and the amines cycle back to pick up more CO2.

Illustration: Emily Cooper

Catching Carbon: Today’s technology uses chemicals called amines to capture carbon dioxide. Water is used to cool the amines and help compress the captured CO2.

Why does this process demand so much water? It’s all about the cooling. The power plant’s cooling tower carries heat away by evaporating water. Cooling the amines for CO2 absorption—which generates heat in itself—leads to an additional load on the cooling tower, causing more water to be lost. And compressing the CO2 to the supercritical conditions needed for storage requires cooling, too.



To really reduce CO2 emissions, says Ciferno, less thirsty forms of carbon capture will have to be developed. His lab is now focused on reducing the amount of energy involved, betting that this will take care of carbon capture’s water woes, too. With a budget of about US $50 million per year and 40 projects, NETL has perhaps the biggest R&D program in this area. The goal is commercial-scale technology by 2020 that can capture 90 percent of a coal plant’s CO2 while increasing the cost of generating electricity at that plant by less than 35 percent.

Industrial firms already have several pilot projects capturing small streams of CO2 at plants in Europe and the United States. However, none have yet been scaled up to the size that would make a noticeable difference in a plant’s water consumption. France’s Alstom Power, for one, uses chilled ammonia instead of amines, which the technology company says should be more energy and water efficient. Alstom tested the process last year with a 20-MW pilot plant at American Electric Power’s New Haven, W.Va., generating station. AEP now plans to use it to capture carbon from 235 MW of the New Haven plant’s 1300-MW capacity, starting in 2015.

Germany’s Siemens Energy has also developed an alternative technology, which relies on amino-acid salts instead of amines. Amino-acid salts pick up more carbon than amines do, so you need to pump and cool less material, says Tony DoVale, president of Siemens Environmental Systems and Services. So far the process has been demonstrated to capture carbon while leaching only 9 percent of a plant’s power, compared to amine technology’s typical 20 percent. That "would ultimately imply half the cooling load," says DoVale.

Of course, unless plant operators are compelled to capture carbon, these energy and water costs won’t be borne at all. "Why would you put on a piece of equipment that puts 10 percent of a plant’s output away if you didn’t have to?" says DoVale.

(C) 2010 Spectrum Magazine

Carbon capture consumes extra energy to operate, reducing a plant's output and requiring even more fossil fuel to be burned. At best, it's a band-aid. Renewable energy is the long-term solution. Get a quote to find out how to go solar or get a geothermal system, make a positive impact on your carbon footprint, and avoid the rising costs of electricity.

Copyright © 2010 Certified Solar Solutions. | 636-244-2445



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