Energy Efficiency Savings Make Homeownership Affordable

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Deborah Callahan
(706) 552-2595
Aimee and family receive the keys to their newly constructed  Energy Star Certified home on June 13, 2016.

Aimee and John Graham’s family of five moved from one inadequate rental home to another, draining resources without improving their living conditions. The 100 year old farmhouse they were renting was very difficult to heat and cool.  The electric bill was nearly as much as the rent bill during the summer and winter months.

Motivated by the dream of owning a new construction energy efficient home with 100 percent financing, they applied for  USDA’s Single Family Housing Direct Loan program. 

During loan underwriting Aimee experienced a partial loss of income that affected the family’s loan repayment ability.  Even with this set back, John and Aimee were still able to afford their American Dream.  Rural Development Loan Specialist Sandra Grimsley implemented the  provision of the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program that allows the  expected utility bill savings that will be realized from new construction homes built under specific energy efficiency programs to be calculated into the borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage.  Along with this provision, they worked closely with their builder, Norman MacKenzie to adjust the home plans to meet their budget.

Their  new Energy Star certified home meets specific energy efficiency requirements that significantly lower their utility costs including :

  • Thermal Enclosure System
  • Water Management System
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist; and
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist

Now the Grahams enjoy a better environment for their children with an average utility bill of $100 a month and house payments they can afford. Utilizing this program “enabled us to take a huge step away from the precipice of poverty.  It helped us restore stability and quality of life for our children.  And most importantly, it gave us hope where we had none,” said Aimee.


Fast Facts

Obligation AmountObligation totals are not disclosed for home loans.
Date of ObligationFebruary 2016
Congressional District8, Representative Austin Scott
Senator's Last NamesIsakson, Perdue