Financing Options: Make a Green Investment with Home Equity

Home equity is an increasingly popular strategy for financing large-scale projects, such as remodels and renovations. Though not an explicitly “green” method, drawing from home equity is an excellent method for kickstarting your environmentally-conscious investment. A home equity line of credit, also called HELOC, is a loan in which a lender agrees to lend an amount of funds where the collateral is the borrower’s equity in their house. Similar to a second mortgage, homeowners often use this resource for additional investments, such as home improvement. In the first quarter of 2017, the United States had $13.7 trillion in home equity, …

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Rebates & Tax Incentives: Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit allows taxpayers to claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenses for a system serving a housing unit within the United States. The housing unit must be owned and used as a resident by the taxpayer, and expenses include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or system installation, and for piping or wiring to connect a system to the home. Maximum allowable credits vary by technology, but solar energy appears to reap the highest reward–in 2017, the average EnergySage Solar Marketplace shopper saved over $5,000 as a result of this tax credit.   Below, …

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Green Investment Resources: LEED Certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known colloquially as LEED, is a rating system created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The system is designed to evaluate the environmental performance of a specific building, and concomitant benefits encourage the market’s transformation into sustainable designs and Green energy production. The system is credit-based, and projects earn points for specific environmentally friendly actions taken during both the construction and the use of a building. LEED Certification Levels, as well as their corresponding points values, follow below.   Certified—40-49 Points Silver—50-59 Points Gold—60-79 Points Platinum—80-110 Points   LEED points are awarded …

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Rebates and Tax Incentives: New York Green Building Tax Exemption

On July 18th of 2012, Governor Cuomo of New York signed into law the authorization for municipal corporations to provide a tax exemption for improvements to property started after January 1st, 2013 and which meet green certification standards. This state law provides authorization for the local jurisdiction to take action, though local law may specify a later date. All buildings certified as in compliance with ANSI-approved ICC 700 National Green Building Standards are eligible. This property tax exemption is only available if the remodel or renovation increases the previously-assessed value of the property. The value of this improvement must exceed …

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Green Investment Resources: Professional Home Energy Audits

Energy audits are a simple and easy way to save money and improve your overall home comfort. An energy assessment will provide significant details to assess the ways in which your home utilizes energy. By conducting a room-by-room examination of a residence and a thorough review of past utility bills, a professional can better understand the areas of your home which generate the most waste and cost the most money. When conducting a home energy audit, the professional will conduct a series of tests. This can include a blower door test, a thermographic scan, and a PFT air infiltration measurement. …

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Green Investment Resources: National Green Building Standard

The National Green Building Standard is approved by the American National Standards Institute as an American National Standard. NGBS provides critical criteria for rating the environmental impact of design and construction practices in order to achieve the conformance with optimal performance levels in green residential buildings. Incentives exist for NGBS Green-certified projects, but they vary by state. All NGBS state incentive programs are listed on the Home Innovation website. Financing avenues and federal agencies can also comply with NGBS standards. Fannie Mae, for example, recently announced additional green loan incentives, a free Energy and Water Audit opportunity, and access to additional …

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Financing Options: FHA PowerSaver Loan Program

This financial resource, provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), offers three financing options for homeowners to make sustainable and renewable energy upgrades to homes. Borrowers must select from a list of Housing and Urban Development approved PowerSaver lenders. Additionally, this program is not available in all states, so be sure to check availability at the HUD website. The products offered by this program include: PowerSaver Home Energy Upgrade, PowerSaver Second Mortgage (Title I), and PowerSaver Energy Rehab (203(k)).   The PowerSaver Home Energy Upgrade is the smallest consumer loan available under this program—up to $7,000. It is an unsecured …

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Rebates and Tax Incentives: Energy Upgrade California

Energy Upgrade California® is a statewide initiative. It is created to help Californians save energy, preserve natural resources, becoming more energy independent, and make informed choices about their energy use. California is on a mission to double their energy efficiency and hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% before 2030. This would take the state back to emission levels that existed prior to 1990. This goal will be difficult to achieve, but rebate programs, such as those offered in Energy Upgrade California, will allow building owners to more actively participate.   This initiative was created to both motivate and …

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Financing Options: Solar Energy Costs

The cost of putting a solar energy system on your roof has decreased by two thirds in less than a decade. This means that getting power from the sun can be significantly cheaper than buying it from your local utility. However, investing in solar does more than lower your monthly bill—it creates jobs, reduces your carbon footprint, and reduces local air pollution. Though energy from the sun is free, home and building owners need a way to capture the rays. The energy is most often captured by solar PV systems; the one-time up-front cost can be intimidating (often more than …

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What is a Green Home? Why Should I Invest?

A “green home,” simply, is a house built or remodeled to conserve energy and water, improve indoor air quality, use sustainable and recyclable materials, and produce less waste. The benefits of owning or building a green home include lower utility bills, such as water, gas, and electricity, a smaller carbon footprint, improved air quality (for better occupant health), and an improved resale value.   Most homeowners justify installing green features in their new or remodeled home by measuring the payback period—the length of time it may take for the savings from a project to justify the upfront cost. Additionally, financing …

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