Getting the Green For Your High-Performance Home: Page 4 of 4


Inside this Article

Intro image.
Intro image.
Model of Normand Home
The Normands’ model of their LEED-certified, passive and active solar, super-insulated home. Three appraisals were required before the Normands were able to secure financing to build their green dream home.
Model of Anderson/Schreiner Home
An initial appraisal gave little value to the Anderson/Schreiner home’s energy-efficiency features, although it was awarded a platinum rating by the Earth Advantage Institute.
High-performance casement windows
An initial appraisal mistakenly classified these high-performance, argon-gas-filled fiberglass casement windows as conventional vinyl units and neglected to recognize the value of the home’s passive solar contributions to offsetting its heating loads.
Intro image.
Model of Normand Home
Model of Anderson/Schreiner Home
High-performance casement windows

Government Help or Helping Yourself

In 2011, the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act (S. 1737) was introduced, which would require federal mortgage agencies to ensure that energy costs are included in the underwriting process. SAVE would also direct the covered agencies to “make the necessary credit policy decisions to adjust the maximum permitted debt amounts or debt-to-income ratios for eligibility to accommodate inclusion of expected energy costs.” However, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where it lays unaddressed.

While government can help, no one can help yourself like you can.

  • Know what you want. Study up. If you know what you are talking about, you can tell if the “expert” knows their stuff.
  • Shop around. If the bank or mortgage broker you’ve selected isn’t connecting, find another. Brokers can widen your financing options, since they can tap into a variety of lenders.
  • Talk a lot. Be very clear on what you want and make them be clear in telling you what they understand your wants to be.
  • Keep trying. Persistence and diligence could win the day.


Andy Kerr ( writes frequently on public policy aspects of renewable energy and energy efficiency. He splits his time between Ashland, Oregon, and Washington, DC.

Energy Star • • Energy-efficient mortgages

Appraisal Institute • Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum •

Earth Advantage • High Performance Home Valuation Addendum •

Database on State Incentives on Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) • • Energy-efficient mortgages

An Introduction to Green Homes by Alan Simmons (Appraisal Institute, 2010)

Comments (1)

marcos arnanz's picture

Hi, im an architect from Spain, there the main problem is the sun. In our building we try to improve the pasive metods of sun control.
Now in my country (spain) all the buildings must have a "certificado energetico de edificios" (something like building energetic efficiency certificate) sorry if my english isn´t good. In Spain the main web of building energetic efficiency certificate is
Now in Spain all the architects an engineers are improving their studies about green buidings.
I like homepower web, its very interesting and i learn a lot, congratulations for this web.
Marcos Arnanz

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