Senator Mitch Tropilla
PO Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500
22 Dec 2007
Dear Senator Tropilla,
I’m writing to alert you to an opportunity for the State of Montana to step to the forefront in fostering innovation in energy efficiency. Montanans have a brilliant and storied history of taking the initiative in proactive policies, from granting women the right to vote, to empowering labor unions and re-envisioning the scope of government in the 1972 State Constitution. We can carry the tradition of forward-thinking self-reliance and independence on by striking out ahead of the federal government in promoting creative new approaches to energy conservation.
Are you aware that Fannie Mae, the Federal mortgage guarantee entity has a policy of not underwriting energy efficient homes? It is, unfortunately, true, though very hard to believe. I was shocked and appalled when my credit union informed me that because I’d built an earth-berm home, and they had a policy of not writing any mortgages that could not be backed by Fannie Mae guidelines, they could only offer me a loan of two percentage points higher and ten years shorter than the standard mortgage. These terms are so disadvantageous that the long list of tax rebates I’d be getting on my federal and state taxes for having energy-efficient windows and other elements would be far, far outweighed by the amount of interest I’ll be paying. In fact, it’s probable that the high cost of borrowing will completely eclipse my savings from energy efficiency.
Montana can be the torch-bearer for the nation in addressing this problem of unsecured mortgages on conservative homes. It’s a problem which will only grow as global warming spurs citizens to seek out energy saving building techniques. By creating a mortgage guarantee entity called Montana Green Lending which, in cooperation with universities and energy conservation entities such as AERO will establish guidelines for green buildings that outstrip Fannie Mae’s limited vision, this state can fulfill its mission to serve the public interest where private enterprise has failed.
It is time for Montana to draft legislation to enact protections for those pursuing novel approaches to energy conservation. Won’t you be the one to take the first steps?
Thank you for your attention to this matter