published Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Energy auditor helps homeowners get energy efficiency-related mortgages

by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press John Chinelli shows Erika Collins how to use an infrared detector to find leaks in the heating system of their home. Chinelli tested the Collins residence for leaks in the heating and cooling system.

* What: Home Energy Rating System analyses provided by a regional energy auditing company that help determine cost-effective energy efficiency improvements for homeowners. The analyses allow homeowners to apply for an Energy Efficient Mortgage, which gives borrowers a financing option to qualify for a larger amount and a more efficient house.

* Company: Energy Rater Services

* Location: P. O. Box 759 Madisonville, Tenn.;

* How it's green: John Chinelli, owner of Energy Rater Services, said he works with homeowners in Southeastern Tennessee to reduce their energy use by as much as 50 percent. Chinelli conducts a series of diagnostic tests on a house, checking for things such as air infiltration and leaky ducts before and after improvements are made. That helps calculate how much energy the homeowner saves.

* How long will it last? Lifetime of the home. Improvements vary depending on what is changed, but most last between 15 and 30 years.

* Why do it this way? After a long history as a Realtor and residential developer in Central Florida, Cinelli began to see a trend of people looking for energy efficiency in their homes and he wanted to provide a service that easily allowed homeowners to obtain financing to improve the efficiency of their houses. "I want to make sure it's cost effective," he said.

* Is environmentalism an essential part of the business? Chinelli said environmentalism is the driving motivation in his services, "but quite frankly, I'm a realist that knows that it's very hard to think about being an environmentalist when you're having trouble paying your bills. I try to be a cost-effective environmentalist, and that's what I love about the EEM mortgage -- if I can't prove it's going to save them more than it costs them, then we can't do it."

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about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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