Architecture 2030 June 13, 2013
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Colorado’s ZNE Goose Lays Golden Eggs

With political acrimony in Washington expected to continue, state and local governments cannot wait for the federal government to create the badly needed jobs, economic activity, and resultant revenue needed to sustain themselves; they must use the options available and undertake the task on their own – and they can.

Colorado just took a giant step forward.

The Centennial State is set to create more construction jobs, increase state and local government tax revenue, and move its housing market to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) – meaning homes that produce as much on-site energy as they consume!

Thanks to the Colorado Energy Saving Mortgage Program, signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on May 28, a homebuyer purchasing a new or renovated ZNE (HERS 0 rating) home is eligible for an $8,000 reduction on financing the total cost of their home mortgage. A new or renovated home that has a HERS rating greater than HERS 0, but less than HERS 50 (50% energy reduction), will also receive a mortgage reduction incentive.

In addition to an $8,000 mortgage incentive, homebuyers will benefit further from lower energy bills, which can be used to offset any cost increase on a ZNE home. For example, $30,000 in improvements on a 2,200 square foot home, after the $8,000 incentive, would require an additional $94.53 in mortgage payments each month. The monthly energy savings, however, would be $154.00. That's a net savings of $59.47 a month.

Bill introduced by Senator Gail Schwartz, and Representatives Max Tyler and Mike Foote.
Example is based on a 30-year, 4% mortgage, and average home energy cost of $0.84/sf/year.

Under this new program, a homebuyer can receive an $8,000 incentive, and purchase a zero net energy home that is worth substantially more – and at a lower annual cost than an equivalent non-ZNE home.

According to the analysis conducted by Architecture 2030, each $1 million in incentives will generate:

  • $16.22 million in direct spending,
  • $16.49 million in indirect and induced spending, and
  • $1.92 million in state and local government tax revenue.

This program “has great support from the construction and financial sectors, as we continue to work together to keep Colorado at the forefront of renewable energy, clean tech and energy efficiency policy nationally” said Senator Gail Schwartz.

With interest rates low, now is the ideal time to leverage state and local government incentives to generate local building sector jobs, increase tax revenue, and stimulate the growth of an affordable high-performance housing market.

New York is following Colorado’s lead.

On May 17th, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton introduced a Zero Net Energy Tax Credit Bill in the New York State Assembly.

The bill, patterned after the ZNE program developed by Architecture 2030, would give homebuyers a personal state income tax credit for purchasing a new or renovated home equal to:

  • $5,000 for a HERS 50 home (50% energy reduction),
  • $7,500 for a HERS 25 home (75% energy reduction), and
  • $10,000 for a HERS 0 home (zero net energy).

The tax credit would more that pay for itself – each $1 million in tax credits would create approximately $27 million in total spending, and generate over $3 million in state and local government tax revenue.

And in New Mexico,

a Sustainability Tax Credit bill, introduced by Senator Peter Wirth, was passed and recently signed by the Governor. The bill provides personal and corporate income tax credits, for both new and renovated high-performance commercial and residential buildings.

We encourage each state to get into the golden egg business with its own ZNE goose. For more information and a customized state ZNE Plan, contact Architecture 2030.

See the latest information on strategies for designing Zero Net Energy buildings at the new groundbreaking 2030 Palette.


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