As the housing market continues to recover from a serious downturn just a few years ago, many Americans are looking for eco-friendly housing options that help to save them money on their utility bills, as well as reduce their overall carbon footprint and reliance on traditional energy sources. Surprisingly, American consumers are not alone in this quest. A number of great programs setup by the federal government actually issues loans — and even mortgages — to consumers who are looking for a “green” housing option near them. These programs vary in terms of their disbursement and requirements, but each of them is an essential way to take advantage of green energy, eco-friendly construction, and a march toward energy independence.
Grants from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
One of the best sources of financial assistance is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The specialized federal agency actually invests in consumers, businesses and research firms, if it believes they’re firmly committed to developing and using green technologies to further the goals of energy independence and American innovation in the green technology sector.
To qualify for funds, an application must be filed with the office detailing the reason that funding is being requested. This can be anything from the conversion of an old building to eco-friendly standards, or the development of a new system to provide green energy or reduce carbon emissions. Each application is reviewed individually, with the agency releasing funds to those they deem most worth of its investment.
Tax Credits for Seeking Greater Energy Efficiency
While it’s not actually a loan, one of the most effective government programs for those consumers looking to “go green” is actually a tax credit. Established in 2005, the Energy Policy Act provides a reimbursement to consumers and businesses who use their own funds to adopt green technologies. That covers the acquisition of an eco-friendly automobile, the installation of solar panels or wind farm technologies, or the conversion of an old building into one that is energy efficient and ready for the 21st century.
As with all tax credits, this popular option must be filed for between January and April, using standard tax forms issued by the federal government. The claim will be reviewed by the IRS, and the credits will be issued to the filer in the form of a greatly increased annual tax refund. The tax credit is available to U.S. citizens during each year in which an eco-friendly improvement is made to their commute, business, or place of residence.
The FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program
One of the best loan programs for those home buyers who are considering going green is the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program, or EEM. The program actually gives consumers a loan that’s greater than the overall value of their home by between 5 and 15 percent. That extra money is then used by the consumer to make eco-friendly improvements the home’s construction, reducing energy use and promoting greater energy independence.
As with virtually ever FHA mortgage or loan program, the federal government will inspect the residence frequently to ensure that the extra funds are actually being used for eco-friendly purposes. As long as the home’s owners stay true to their stated goals of a green residence, the funds will remain in place and the improvements to the home’s carbon footprint can continue unabated.
Veterans’ Administration Energy Efficient Mortgages
Another great option for America’s veterans is the VA’s own EEM program. The program is similar the one offered by the FHA, but differs in terms of the amount of money that can be dedicated to energy-efficient improvements made to an existing home. While the FHA offers between 5 and 15 percent of the home’s actual value on top of its own mortgage loan, the VA’s program caps improvements at a maximum of $6,000. For homes with a lower overall value, those improvements are capped at just $3,000 instead.
Lots of Great Ways to Go Green and Save Money
With the backing of tax credits, government loans, and programs from the FHA and the Veterans’ Administration, there are lots of great ways to make eco-friendly improvements to a new home without breaking the bank. Homeowners should take advantage of at least one of these programs while the government still offers them, combining excellent loan savings with long-term savings on the cost of fueling and enjoying a new home.
Provided by refinancemortgagerates.org/