Community Development Innovation Review

March 2014

Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks: An Extended Abstract


In recent years, home energy efficiency (EE) has progressed from the margins to the mainstream. However, many households are deterred by large upfront costs and longer payback periods, so are missing significant opportunities to implement cost effective energy savings measures in their homes. Financing would help overcome these obstacles. However, the use of loans for energy efficiency upgrades has been low. In particular, as de T’Sercales (2007) points out, lenders have not promoted loans for energy efficiency upgrades because of lack of information about the relationship between energy efficiency and risks. We provide initial evidence of the associative relationship between home energy efficiency and mortgage risks. Using a national sample, compared to non-ENERGY STAR houses, we find that the odds of default for households in ENERGY STAR houses are 32 percent lower and odds of prepayment are 28 percent lower. Furthermore, the greater the efficiency within the ENERGY STAR residences, the lower the risk of default. These results are reported in Cityscape by Kaza, Quercia and Tian (2014) and this paper summarizes them.

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Other articles in this issue

Mixing Asset Building with Energy Efficiency: A Recipe for Financial and Environmental Sustainability

The Future of the Clean (Green) Economy

Cleaner Energy and Health: Household, Local and Global Benefits

Financing Energy Efficiency Retrofits of Affordable Multifamily Buildings

Manufactured Homes Help Both Save the Planet and Save Money for Low-Income Owners

Utilities and Community Developers Partner to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Affordable Rental Housing Nationwide

Integrating Energy Efficiency into Mortgage Financing: Promising Efforts in the New York City Multifamily Building Sector

Charter Schools Ripe for Green Investments

Financing Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Multifamily Rental Housing: A Progress Update from the Low Income Investment Fund

Neighborhood Health: A New Framework for Investing in Sustainable Communities

Bringing Down Green Financing Costs: How a State-sponsored Bank Might be the Key

Understanding the True Benefits of both Energy Efficiency and Job Creation

Can Cities Lead the Way in Innovative Energy Retrofits for Single-Family Homes?

Lenders’ Property Standards and Energy Efficiency: The Vital Link for Affordable Housing

Energy to Heal: Health Care, Climate Change, and Community Resilience