Colorado Bets on ZNE


A new energy-efficient mortgage program is expected to not only create more construction jobs statewide, but shift housing performance much closer to zero net energy.


The governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, just signed into law a new mortgage program that’s expected to have far reaching impacts, and perhaps serve as a model for other states. The program is quite simple, and has powerful incentives. It offers an $8,000 reduction in the financing costs for homebuyers purchasing a zero-net-energy (ZNE) home, and also includes a similar reduction when purchasing a home that has a HERS rating greater than HERS O, but less than HERS 50. In case you weren’t paying attention to HERS ratings, they are playing an increasingly important role in the residential homebuilding and resale markets. Architecture 2030 says the mortgage program will not only save consumers energy, but also money over the long run. They estimate that “$30,000 in improvements on a 2,200-square-foot home, after the $8,000 incentive, would require an additional $94.53 in mortgage payments each month. The monthly energy savings, however, would be $154.00. That’s a net savings of $59.47 a month.” They also estimate that every $1 million spent on incentives will result in:
$16.22 million in direct spending;
$16.49 million in indirect and induced spending;
$1.92 million in state and local government tax revenue.

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