SAVE Act Introduced by Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Isakson (R-GA)

The Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act, S. 1737, was introduced on October 19, 2011 by Senators Bennet (D-Co.) and Isakson (R-Ga.) and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. It would direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to update its underwriting and appraisal guidelines to ensure that any home loan backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, or other federal agencies and entities would account for the home’s energy costs. As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee around 90% of home mortgages in the United States, any such regulatory change would likely be adopted as standard practice by most domestic residential mortgage lenders.

The bill looks to improve the accuracy of mortgage underwriting used by federal mortgage agencies by ensuring that energy costs are included in the underwriting process, reducing the amount of energy consumed by homes, and facilitating the creation of energy efficiency retrofit and construction jobs. Furthermore, it’s a national policy that won’t cost taxpayers or expand the government.

Thus far, the proposal has enjoyed support from a very broad range of organizations, including the Leading Builders of America, IMT, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Appraisal Institute, the Alliance to Save Energy, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It joins the ranks of other bipartisan energy-efficiency proposals – notably S. 1000, the Shaheen-Portman bill on building efficiency, the Bingaman-Murkowski bill on consensus standards and the Udall-Brown bill on utility bill information.

Comparable legislation has not yet been introduced in the House of Representatives. 
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