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Looking for an Energy Efficient Home?

by Kristina Lauren

Are you looking to buy or upgrade a home and also interested in sustainability? An energy efficient mortgage might be right for you.

What are they?

An Energy Efficient Mortgage (or EEM, for short) is a mortgage that includes a home’s energy efficiency costs in the mortgage itself. These mortgages give special benefits to homeowners who buy a house that is already energy efficient. Under the EEM umbrella is an EIM (Energy Improvement Mortgages) which are for homes that can be made efficient through energy-saving installations.

How can they benefit you?

  • You can qualify for a larger loan
  • You can make a less efficient home more comfortable and sustainable
  • With an EIM, you can include the cost of improvements to an existing home in the mortgage without increasing the down payment
  • You save money on utility bills every month
  • They can increase the resale value of your home

How do you qualify?

  • If you qualify for a home loan, you qualify for an EEM
  • You’ll also need to obtain a home energy assessment for financing to be approved. This assessment does three things:
    • Gives you recommendations for energy-saving improvements
    • Estimates how much the improvements will save you in energy costs
    • Estimates the cost of each improvement

Real-life Example

In California, first-time home buyers Patricia and Mynette Theard used the EEM program to make improvements to their home at the recommendation of their lender. Their estimated cost for energy improvements came out to $2300, including ceiling, floor, and furnace duct insulation, along with a setback thermostat, and their total loan amount was $144,800 for a house they bought for $150,000. Even though their monthly mortgage payments increased by $17, they saved $45 a month in utility bills.

The initial costs of the home and the mortgage payments may be a little bit more than they would be with a non-sustainable home, but it’s clear that making these energy-efficient improvements can save a homeowner more in the long-run in utility bills. 

These upgrades seem like small efforts in the journey to make our world more sustainable, but if it interests you and you have the means, you may want to consider an energy efficient mortgage.


“Energy Efficient Mortgage Homeowner Guide – HUD: / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).” HUD,

Energy Efficient Mortgages. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2020, from

Energy-Efficient Mortgages. (n.d.). DSIRE.

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Blower Door Testing

Air tightness is a major factor in how energy efficient a structure is. Blower door testing is the most effective way to determine the tightness of a building. This video explains how a blower door works, and how it is used. This video was made in 2011.

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