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  • Monday, April 25, 2011


    U.S. helps homeowners get loans to improve energy efficiency
    Wendy Koch, April 24, 2011 (USA Today)

    "…U.S. homeowners [with good credit scores, manageable debt and some equity in their homes] are now eligible for up to $25,000 in federally insured [PowerSaver loans at or below market rates] to make energy-efficient upgrades such as adding [new HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels and geothermal heating/cooling,] insulation, sealing ducts or replacing windows…

    "Eighteen regional and national lenders, including Quicken, have signed on to the two-year pilot program, said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan…Donovan said he expects the loans will serve about 30,000 homeowners and will not only save them money on energy bills but also reduce pollution and create at least 3,000 construction jobs."

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    "The loans are part of the Obama administration’s broader efforts to improve home energy efficiency…In November, Vice President Biden announced a pilot program to test a new Home Energy Score [similar to the miles-per-gallon label for cars], which ranks a home’s energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10…[It] will tell consumers how their homes compare with others and how much money they could save with efficiency upgrades based on an energy audit…"

    click to enlarge

    "…David Kreutzer, an energy expert at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based research group often critical of President Obama’s environmental policies…[said] only homeowners who could qualify for normal home-equity loans will likely meet the lending criteria, which include a credit score of at least 660 and a mortgage balance that’s less than 45% of their annual income…[and called this] ‘a program to subsidize home improvements for those who don’t need subsidies…”

    "Donovan said the Home Energy Score could help prove the payback for various upgrades,and the PowerSaver loans could expand demand for them that will prompt greater private investment…The Federal Housing Administration will cover up to 90% of the loans’ amount in the case of default, leaving the remaining risk to the lenders..."


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