Climate 411

Energy-Efficient Mortgages: It Pays to Go Green

The author of today’s post, Jeffery Greenblatt, Ph.D., is a scientist at Environmental Defense specializing in low-carbon energy technologies.

Consumers and businesses alike complain that it takes years for savings on energy bills to repay the up-front costs of energy efficiency. No longer. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, lenders have discovered what energy analysts have known for years: loans for energy efficiency improvements are low-risk, because borrowers can "finance" these loans through lower energy payments.

Energy-efficient mortgages have been available for some time, but lenders didn’t promote them, and customers resisted the extra inspections and paperwork. Now to get home buyers interested, banks are offering incentives of $500-$1000 off closing costs. Everybody wins: consumers save money, lenders make a profit, and the atmosphere enjoys lower carbon emissions.

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How much coal does the U.S. have?

The author of today’s post, Jeffery Greenblatt, Ph.D., is an expert on low-carbon energy technologies at Environmental Defense.

The U.S. may be short on oil and gas reserves, but the one energy source we thought we had in abundance was coal – enough to last 250 years at current consumption levels. Or so we thought.

A few weeks ago, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a new report saying that U.S. coal reserves may last only another 100 years, or even less. That’s a big difference. How did we get this so wrong, and what are the implications for U.S. energy policy going forward?

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