Empowering Alaska Borrowers With Information To Save Money
Energy Efficient Housing Data Now Readily Available For Alaska’s Housing Market
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Oct. 12, 2022 – Rising interest rates and their impact is a big topic for Alaska homeowners and those looking to enter the housing market. Now, the most recent energy ratings -- if they exist -- for single family homes for sale are readily accessible to real estate professionals and appraisers, empowering their borrowers to save money and make more educated purchasing decisions. Alaska Multiple Listing Service has integrated its database of homes for sale with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Alaska Retrofit Information Systems database, commonly known as ARIS.
“Automated access to Alaska energy efficient housing data is a significant development and valuable resource available to communities as part of the home buying and selling process,” says Bryan Butcher, CEO/executive director of AHFC.
AHFC and AK MLS have been working for several years to integrate their systems to speak the same technical language. ARIS was developed in 2008 by AHFC and stores data from energy ratings and building assessments when structures are evaluated for energy performance. The partnership with AK MLS provides real estate professionals the option to query ARIS for data points related to a home’s energy performance and share that data with prospective buyers. Higher energy ratings mean a more energy efficient home that can save homeowners hundreds of dollars each year. The integration aligns with the homebuilding industry’s standard for sharing housing energy data. The collaboration was consummated in March 2022 with energy information that includes:
- BEES (Building Energy Efficiency Standard) - an energy rating that verifies compliance with AHFC’s building energy code that was established by the State of Alaska to prompt construction of energy efficient buildings
- Date of the most recent energy rating from 1 - 6 stars, with 6 being the highest energy efficiency
- As-Is Rating - an initial energy rating that establishes a baseline to track energy efficiency upgrades
- Post Rating - a post energy rating that verifies energy efficiency upgrades complete
- A point system from 1 - 100 that may include renewable energy systems
- Identification of organization/business that performed the home energy rating(s)
“There are countless benefits that energy efficient homes offer - new or previously constructed,” says Butcher, “but challenges remain because comparable data has not been readily available to consider during the appraisal process.”
“Interest in energy efficient homes is high but adoption can be cost-prohibitive for many Alaskans. The data integration fostered by the partnership between AHFC and AK MLS could help substantively change that dynamic, especially as more people begin to consider operating expenses as part of their annual housing costs,” added Butcher.
To facilitate energy improvements, AHFC offers two options through its lending partners that may be included in an AHFC loan:
- Renovation option to help finance energy improvements
- Energy efficiency rate reduction to help homeowners reap the rewards of energy efficiency improvements through a lower interest rate
"This is an exceptional asset for the Alaska real estate market," says Connie Giddings, associate broker, RE/MAX Dynamic Properties and the only NAR GREEN Realtor in Anchorage. "The more information that can be provided to consumers looking to buy or sell a home the better, especially information related to saving money on utility costs with energy efficient features in the home. Being able to access past energy ratings from AHFC through the AK MLS will benefit both the buyer and the seller tremendously.”
As part of its commitment to making this data readily available and to encourage more energy efficient homes for Alaskans new energy raters are actively being recruited, and AHFC has sponsored trainings across the state along with the National Appraisal Institute. The effort is designed to teach Alaska’s appraisers how to value energy efficiencies and interpret star ratings so that such evaluations are normalized. Increased knowledge will advance the opportunity to develop a common valuation method that long term will align energy appraisals with the parameters set by lending institutions, and ultimately incentivize more efficient construction.
“The tie of energy efficiency to price is an important connection that is good for both homeowners and prospective buyers and is good for the state’s real estate infrastructure,” added Butcher.
For more information about AHFC and its programs, visit ahfc.us.
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is a public corporation with a history of providing Alaskans access to safe, quality and affordable housing through home financing, energy efficiency programs, public housing and more. Since 1986, Alaska Housing has contributed more than $2.1 billion to the State of Alaska's General Fund.