Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Home Energy Audit Here We Come

Jane and I will have $30,000 to invest in energy retrofits for our house. How did we come upon $30,000? Lottery? Inheritance? Theft?

None of the above. We’re refinancing our home thanks to low interest rates and unlocked $30,000 from our property’s equity. Being a homeowner is fun!

This is how it all played out for us….

We approached our mortgage broker Bonnie Smith of Invis about getting a ‘green’ mortgage, basically a low interest loan to retrofit the house. TD Bank is the only institution that offers this product and we would rather fold the loan into our current mortgage with First National.

Bonnie advised that we tap into our home’s equity. We approached Ron Hyde, our real estate agent, to determine the selling price of our house today. Despite the subprime meltdown in the US, the market in Toronto is still reasonably healthy. Ron told us that he would list our home $60,000 higher than the purchase price two year ago, based on current selling prices in our neighbourhood and the work we’ve put into the house.

Interest rates are currently very low. Bonnie looked into the possibility of refinancing our mortgage and came up with the low rate of 4.39 percent over five years. Even with the penalty and lawyer’s fee, which amounts to $3,600 altogether, our savings will make refinancing worth our while.

By refinancing at that low rate and receiving $30,000 to improve the home, our biweekly mortgage payments will not significantly increase. In return we will transform our leaky 90 year old house into one that’s energy efficient.

If you are a homeowner living in an older house you may want to take advantage of the current low interest rates while they last and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Benefits include increased comfort and home value, and reduced utility costs and carbon footprint. You will also employ people during a time when they need it the most.

I’ve just booked our energy audit with Green$aver, our local energy auditor, to assess our house on March 13. Once we’ve made the suggested improvements to the house and have our home reassessed, we will receive federal and provincial rebates, as well as enjoy reduced utility bills. The rebates and savings will go towards paying down the mortgage once the loan matures in five years. That's the plan.

In the months ahead I will keep you apprised of our journey to make our home a lean mean energy efficient machine.

Interested in booking your own energy auditor? Canadians can find a list of auditors across the country by visiting Green Communities. Americans can visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for State incentives and the US Dept. of Energy’s Professional Home Energy Audit page for more information.

In the News

Take Peak Oil seriously - it'll be here much sooner than you think

Everything's gone green
Well Universities are getting in the act.

Scientists losing war of words over climate change
Interesting article on how the conservative language of scientists is misunderstood and taken advantage of by the naysayers.

'Dirty' oil potential source of friction as Obama heads to Canada to discuss clean energy

No comments: