Families like the Wilbur Eshelman household of Gardiner, who are purchasing a new ENERGY STAR qualified manufactured home to replace an older model through MaineHousing’s Mobile Home Replacement Pilot Program.
ENERGY STAR mortgages are mortgages on homes that are ENERGY STAR qualified or that achieve total home energy savings of at least 20%. These energy savings can be achieved by making the energy efficiency improvements recommended in a home energy audit. ENERGY STAR mortgages also provide a financial incentive to the borrower to choose that mortgage.
Maine is the first state to offer ENERGY STAR mortgages under a new pilot program developed by The Energy Programs Consortium in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and state energy and housing agencies, and with support from the Ford and Surdna Foundations.
ENERGY STAR is a registered trademark of EPA and DOE, and is recognized by more than 70% of consumers nationwide as a measure of energy efficiency and product quality.
“The cost of borrowing extra money to weatherize your home is more than paid for by lower energy costs,” said MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick. “We are honored to be approved as an ENERGY STAR Partner and to promote ENERGY STAR mortgages.”
ENERGY STAR mortgages may be offered:
· To buy or refinance homes that are energy efficient;
· To buy or refinance homes that need energy improvements, where the improvements are financed as part of the mortgage transaction; and
· To finance home energy improvements.
MaineHousing now offers ENERGY STAR mortgages through its Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), which provides loans at a low fixed interest rate of 3.95 percent (4.194%APR) for home energy improvements. The loans are available to eligible low and moderate-income homeowners through participating lenders — Bath Savings Institution, Camden National Bank, HomeQuest, Kennebunk Savings Bank, MaineStream Finance, Northeast Bank, Norway Savings Bank, Skowhegan Savings, and The First, N.A…
The Energy Programs Consortium is working on behalf of EPA and DOE to recruit Maine lenders to become ENERGY STAR Partners and to offer a wide range of ENERGY STAR mortgage products. So far, Camden National Bank, First N.A. HomeQuest, Mainstream Finance, and Beacon Financial are applying to become ENERGY STAR Partners. EPC provides a list of Maine lenders with ENERGY STAR mortgage products at www.energyprograms.org
“ENERGY STAR qualified products and homes help homeowners reduce their energy consumption and save money on utility bills while helping to protect the environment,” says David Lee, Branch Chief of ENERGY STAR’s Residential Branch. “It is our intention that the ENERGY STAR mortgage pilot program will provide homeowners at all income levels with the financing they need to invest in energy-efficient homes.”
The Energy Program Consortium is a key partner of the Ford Foundation in efforts to align state and federal energy efficiency programs and mortgage financing tools to reduce home energy use, diminish the housing cost burdens for low-income homeowners, improve safety and soundness of homes, and put low-income families on a path toward financial security.
“Loans that include energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR standards engage the families directly as stakeholders in the effort, and help to amplify the impact of a fixed pool of public subsidy so that we can reach a significantly larger number of households,” said George McCarthy, Director of Urban Regeneration and Opportunity for the Ford Foundation.
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