In its mission statement, the Federal Savings Bank says, “We are a veteran-owned, federally chartered bank with a focus on educating our customers about the mortgage process and providing opportunity for home ownership.” As part of that advice, it says veterans should consider rooftop solar systems when purchasing a home, according to a report in Benzinga.

Paying a mortgage is only part of buying a home. Purchasers also have to pay taxes, insurance, and utility bills. The bank suggests that installing a rooftop solar system will lower utility bills, making a home more affordable in the long run.

And here’s news that applies directly to veterans. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, in addition to being used to purchase a home, a VA home loan can also be used to install energy-efficient home improvements. Veterans can qualify for up to $6,000 more than the cost of the home because of the Energy Efficient Mortgage provisions built in to the Energy Star program created by the US Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Energy Star website:

An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home’s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.

To get an EEM, a borrower typically has to have a home energy rater conduct a home energy rating before financing is approved. This rating verifies for the lender that the home is energy efficient. The advice to veterans from The Federal Savings Bank falls into 3 basic categories.

1. Reduce monthly utility bills.
Homeowners who install solar panels could cut their utility bills in half each month, potentially saving thousands annually. There are options to either lease or own their solar system to save money for the long haul. Some utilities also offer ways to even sell back the extra power they generate to the grid.

2. Improve building performance
An energy-efficient mortgage can improve a home’s energy efficiency through a number of power saving technologies that insure heating, cooling, ventilation and other systems work as effectively as possible.

3. Price of solar installations dropping
Veterans may be surprised to learn the costs of installing panels are actually lower than they think. The price of solar panels is decreasing over the years as they become a more reliable source of energy.

If you are a veteran who is considering buying a home, ask your lender about a VA energy-efficient mortgage or contact The Federal Savings Bank.