No matter what people may happen to believe about climate change or global warming there is no denying that there are some very extreme events happening. Fires, flooding, droughts and mass migration appear to be increasing in size and ferocity. It seems prudent for those of us who have not experienced losses to prepare ourselves and our buildings to be resilient and efficient.
Governments around the world have difficulty securing funds for rebuilding destroyed communities so people are searching for alternatives instead of waiting for government help. Private lenders and investors do help by financing the restoration or construction of energy efficient, safe and durable buildings but this financing is much more widely available for larger projects than for small.
For owners of damaged or destroyed residences the process to rebuild can be both daunting and discouraging, especially where financing is needed to build better than before. One proven way to obtain financing for improved residential buildings is to use an energy mortgage, such as an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) or Energy Improvement Mortgage (EIM). Energy mortgages take into account the savings accrued from the installation of energy-saving and clean energy products and technologies. (For more information about energy mortgages please see end of article.)
Why are loans to improve, restore or completely rebuild a residence so hard to obtain?
The shortest answer is that private lenders and investors look at the chaotic nature of the residential construction and restoration industries and are reluctant to lend on what they perceive to be risky loans. The irony is that private lenders and investors do understand that energy efficient buildings and deep energy retrofits can generate significant savings for both the lender and the owner plus these savings often last for decades.
What can be done to help obtain financing to construct or rebuild residences?
With the help of a certified home energy rater, also known as a “HERS*” Rater, an owner of a residence to build or rebuild can determine the most energy and cost-efficient way to proceed with the project. A certified rater can develop a detailed energy model of the existing or proposed building and then employ a series of energy improvement measures, such as adding more insulation or a clean energy (Solar-Wind-Other) system.
Since a certified rater can help initiate an energy mortgage they already have access to the private sector lending marketplace. The key is finding the best combination of energy improvements and/or clean energy systems to provide a rapid, reliable payback or Return-On-Investment (ROI) for that particular project. Additional savings can often be found by conserving water or installing smart control technologies.
Certified raters are now recognized in international building and energy codes as qualified energy code compliance inspectors. This means that the energy ratings and raters are now accepted by national and international code officials. Private lenders and investors view this recognition by code inspectors as a good step forward.
What is now holding private lenders and investors back from lending is the inconsistent level of training and experience of many residential energy professionals, including raters. The information taken from the existing building or from the proposed plans must be input into the energy modeling software correctly and completely, otherwise the resulting reports, charts/graphs and projected energy savings may be incorrect.
If there was a field data collection app available that worked with all types of computers and mobile devices that would screen the incoming building and project data for inaccuracies, missing information, needed photos and more then the energy project information would become more reliable and consistent. Plus, if this app could connect to a software program that screened for hundreds more visual and computational inaccuracies then the project info would be even more robust. If this app could create a REM** file that could be opened by the largest energy software modeling program used in the USA then this combination of software and companion app could open the door to private sector financing.
This software and companion app actually does exist in the form of REMCheck software and REMCollect app. For more information on REMCheck and REMCollect please click on the following article link or click the logos:
For more information about energy mortgages visit Energy Mortgage Network.com or read the following article:
*HERS – Home Energy Rating Systems *** More information about HERS available at: RESNET.us
**REM/Design® and REM/Rate® are residential energy modeling software programs by NORESCO – More information available here: http://remrate.com/