Green Energy Money Founder & CEO Teresa Lopez
1. Tell us about yourself (hobbies, education, family, pets etc.) My hobbies include tai chi (I’m a Red Belt), yoga and all alternative healing modalities. I’m a geek by nature, I study alternative everything-right now I’m studying the carbon and digital currency emerging markets intensely; fascinating stuff!
I have an awesome son, daughter-in-law and 4 year old granddaughter who’s the light of my life~ Also 4 brothers and sisters and 15 nieces and nephews most of them live in the DC Metro area.
2. What is your role at Green Energy Money (GEM) and how did you arrive at this career?
I’m Founder and CEO of Green Energy Money, with over 35 years in the mortgage banking industry. Currently I am also a licensed mortgage banker with Weststar Pacific Mortgage and wear two hats. I got interested in the green movement when I owned DreamSource Financial, a green financing mortgage brokerage company founded in 1998 in Boulder.
We cut our teeth, so to speak, on what might be considered the ‘bleeding edge’ of high-performance building; funding the only available green projects available at the time in Taos, Boulder, Santa Fe, Telluride. These were very unique properties, i.e., straw bale, Earth ships, Geodesic Domes, etc.
We got really excited about financing these homes due to their extreme efficiency and no utility hook up to the grid; even water, in 100 degree temperature differential. They were essentially fully operational with no connection to the grid, as well as comfortable to live in. It shifted my perception about the possibility of net-zero homes, this was happening from1998 all the way to the market crash in 2008. Of course, the design of most of these homes weren’t main stream, but the systems were extraordinary.
3. What is your experience in working with Native?
Native has been a complete joy to work with. Our corporate cultures are a great match; honestly, integrity, passionate service, PEOPLE PLANET, PROFT, and so on.
Our experience with the Native team members has been positive from day one! Starting with the owner-partners and down to the project managers, literally everyone works together like a well-oiled machine. They are among the most competent, reliable, knowledgeable and top 5% highest-performance builders we work with nationwide. They have cracked the code for net-zero and consistently over achieve their client’s energy goals; averaging a HERS 10 Index! They also finish on time consistently – a rarity with many custom builders.
The construction process can be very intense; coupled with financing and green economics, it’s extremely important that the financing and building team are aligned and creating an exceptional experience for their clients. Everyone needs to think outside the box and be able to come up with viable solutions to any challenges that arise; and they inevitably do when working within the constraints of both the construction and financial industry.
4. What advice do you have for homeowners who are looking to build a net zero home and need financing?
Get clear about your budget. When receiving multiple builder bids, always assume the worst case to prepare for contingencies. Really question lower bids. Many times we see homeowners choosing the builder with the lower bid, but often they ending up paying more at the end because the project wasn’t bid properly or was under budget.
Don’t skimp on high-performance measures. This can end up costing more over the project life cycle in operating expenses. We have already proven, many times over, that the higher the home’s performance, the greater the savings and paybacks.
Vet your lender team and make sure they understand that your project is high-performance and it will take a little more competency to handle the transaction. Especially the appraisal. If they don’t have experience in green financing, or a green appraiser that is competent to appraise the project it can cause a lot of challenges; possibly requiring more money down. Bottom line – question everything!
For more info on GEM, visit: http://greenenergy.money/
Also, check out Teresa’s article: Back to the Future – Retrofitting America’s Building Stock for Existing Homes, Part 1