As Americans became increasingly interested in reducing utility bills through energy conservation, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) started offering Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs); see more on page 7-16 in Chapter 7 of the VA Lender’s Handbook.

What do EEMs mean for Greater Phoenix veterans?

“For the average 2,000 square-foot home in the Valley, energy conversion could save veterans roughly $300 a month on their AC bill,” said George “G-II” Varrato, director of Government Affairs for the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP). “The actual amount saved depends on the specific energy-efficient improvements taken by the homeowner.”

EEM improvements that may increase how much a veteran can borrow include:

  • Solar heating and cooling systems
  • Caulking and weather stripping
  • Updated attic, floor, wall and water heater insulation
  • Thermal windows and doors

The mortgage loan amount may be increased:

  • Up to $3K, based solely on documented costs
  • Up to $6K, if monthly mortgage payment increase doesn’t exceed monthly utility reduction
  • More than $6K, subject to determination of value by VA
  • Note: A Certificate of Commitment (Form 26-1866), issued before the decision to make energy
    efficiency improvements over $6K, must be returned to VA to determine if the applicant still qualifies.
    Other restrictions apply if done in conjunction with an Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan.

For new home buyers, EEM options can be added to their mortgage, allowing them to convert their home to a more energy-efficient one before they move in. Existing homeowners who served in the military can also benefit from the VA program by refinancing.

For more about VA Home Loans, visit

Related event: Veterans Housing Summit on Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz.

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