On November 9, Vice President Joe Biden, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced a set of new federal programs to promote home energy efficiency, addressing the recommendations provided by the October 2009 Middle Class Task Force Recovery Through Retrofit report. Vice President Biden said that the programs are designed to increase consumer awareness of the possible savings resulting from home energy efficiencies and improvements, and consumer access to affordable financing.
Secretary Donovan announced a new pilot program, FHA PowerSaver, which aims to assist credit-worthy borrowers in financing energy-saving improvements to their homes. It is a new mortgage insurance product from FHA designed especially for homeowners who would like to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, but are unable to access affordable loans. To help finance home improvements such as the installation of insulation, door and window sealing, and upgrading water heaters, FHA PowerSaver loans will be available to qualified homeowners for up to $25,000.
HUD is holding a webcast November 30 from 1-2 p.m. (Eastern) for more information on the PowerSaver program.
HUD is currently seeking FHA-approved lenders that may be suitable candidates for the pilot program. The first participating lenders will be announced in early 2011. Lenders interested in participating in the Pilot Program must email their Expressions of Interest to FHAPowerSaver@hud.gov, following the instructions described in this notice.
Secretary Chu announced the new Home Energy Score program, which will help homeowners make informed decisions about improving the energy efficiency of their homes. The volunteer program will allow trained and certified contractors to rate homes on a 1 to 10 scale, give homeowners information on how their homes compare to other homes in the area, estimate potential savings from energy retrofits, and supply a personalized list of recommended improvements, including how much money could be saved from each improvement. Pilot tests will conclude in late spring 2011.
Secretary Solis announced new Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades, which will be put into practice around the country through the Weatherization Assistance Program, Recovery Act grantees, and other federal retrofit programs.
According to Biden, Administration agencies will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that American homeowners have the information, financing, and work force necessary to make homes more energy efficient.