Energy Efficient Housing Application Guidelines
This information is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy  
to assist the public and regulated community.
Form #:  20-036
Applications and Forms
Revised: 12/7/20


October 28, 2020 -- The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) offers 3.5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans through eligible Nebraska lenders for the construction of single family, detached dwellings located in Nebraska. These homes are required to be built as ENERGY STAR® Version 3.1 homes or as Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready home, as certified by a rater accredited by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), or Building Performance Institute (BPI). The homes must also meet all requirements listed in the Energy Efficient Housing Application Guidelines.

Use Form M10 and the Energy Efficient Housing Application Guidelines above to apply for new home construction financing for pre-sold homes. The home owner must receive NDEE written approval of their application prior to applying for a building permit, if required, and any construction or ground breaking

Applicants must supply NDEE with a set of the construction drawings and specifications showing inclusion of all required products, dimensions, R-values, efficiencies, mechanical design, etc. from the plans; the HERS reports, which show the home meets the requirements for an Energy Efficient Housing Loan; a copy of the Building File Report, which shows the program inputs used by the HERS or BPI rater; and a copy of the Equipment Sizing Summary, which shows the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) sizing.

Then the information will be reviewed for compliance with the requirements of the program and the applicant will be notified that either (a) the plan complies and they may apply for a loan from an eligible Nebraska lender, or (b) the plan is deficient in specific areas and they have the opportunity to revise and resubmit the information.

If the plan complies with program requirements, the applicant’s Nebraska lender must notify NDEE that the application for a construction loan has been approved by their institution, and NDEE must receive the loan application paperwork from the lender. Once a Commitment Agreement between the lender and NDEE has been signed, the lender will notify the applicant that they may begin construction.

Applicants may not begin construction prior to receiving notification from the lender that NDEE has committed funds to the project.

During and after construction, the HERS or BPI rater will need to inspect the home to ensure construction is completed according to the approved plans and ENERGY STAR® Version 3.1 or DOE Zero Energy Ready requirements with a qualifying building tightness, and provide NDEE with the associated completed checklists and final blower door test results.

The construction loan must be secured by a first mortgage on the home being constructed; have a permanent loan take-out commitment in place; not be written for more than one year; carry an interest rate of no more than 3.5%; and be covered in full by property insurance. Any loan fees charged by the lender will be only for costs associated with the loan paid to a non-affiliated third party or, if in-house fees, will not exceed the lender's published fees for like extensions of credit.

The construction loan can include the costs of the lot, HERS or BPI ratings; design and plans; material and equipment to be installed in the house; building permits; utility installation or connection; general contractor, subcontractors and wages paid to employees; and loan fees charged by the lender. The costs of services by the borrower and the borrower's family or friends who are not actual employees or contractors engaged in the construction business are not eligible.

The lender may loan 100% of the total cost of the project up to the appraised value of the home as completed or $510,400.00, whichever is less, provided the lender determines the borrower has sufficient resources, or can provide additional collateral, to cover any amount over and above the permanent loan take-out commitment.

Conventional Construction Loan or Self Financing

To qualify as an ENERGY STAR® Version 3.1 or DOE Zero Energy Ready new home with a qualifying building tightness limit under the Nebraska Energy Efficient Housing Program, an application must be made to NDEE and and the applicant must receive NDEE's approval of the plan in writing prior to applying for a building permit, if required, and any construction or ground breaking.

Long Term Permanent Financing

Reduced fixed interest rate permanent loans for up to 30 years are available through Tecumseh Federal Bank, Tecumseh, Nebraska. These loans are available for for single family, detached dwellings located in Nebraska which are built as ENERGY STAR® Version 3.1 or DOE Zero Energy Ready with a qualifying building tightness that have received NDEE's written approval of the plan prior to the start of construction.
Other eligible Nebraska lenders have the option to offer reduced fixed interest rate long term loans. Check with your local lender for availability.

NDEE must be provided with the associated completed checklists and final blower door tests from the HERS or BPI rater and determine the dwelling was completed in accordance with the approved plan and still complies with the requirements of the program.

Borrower maximums for Energy Efficient Housing Loans
Type of Loan
Maximum Loan Amount
Type of Construction
3.5% Financing for New Home Construction Pre-Sold Homes
$510,400 or the cost of construction, whichever is less, up to the appraised value of the home as completed, with lender approval based on loan program guidelines and lender’s credit underwriting standards.
Nebraska residents for ENERGY STAR Version 3.1 or Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Homes, which meet all of the requirements listed in the Energy Efficient Housing Application Guidelines, and will be the home owner’s primary residence, and located in Nebraska with NDEE written approval of the plans prior to applying for a building permit, if required, and any construction or ground breaking.
Long Term Permanent Financing at Reduced Rates
$510,400 or the cost of construction, whichever is less, up to the appraised value of the home as completed, with lender approval based on loan program guidelines and the lender’s underwriting standards.
Nebraska residents for ENERGY STAR Version 3.1 or Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Homes, which meet all of the requirements listed in the Energy Efficient Housing Application Guidelines, and will be the home owner’s primary residence, and located in Nebraska with NDEE written approval of the plans prior to applying for a building permit, if required, and any construction or ground breaking. and the home once it is completed

The Home must meet the following tightness limit.*

The house must be sealed to a tightness, as measured by a certified HERS or BPI rater, to 400 cubic feet per minute at 50 pascals (CFM50) plus 100 CFM50 per 1000 square feet of floor area, or less. To meet this mark, an initial blower door test at rough-in is required. The HERS or BPI rater is required to contact NDEE 10 days prior to the final inspection and blower door test
*area is measured to the outside of the walls and includes all floor levels, less open areas, As an example, a 3,000 square foot home would be required to pass a leakage test of 700 cfm 50 or less.