Viridian Introduces Program to Green Foreclosed Properties

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorAtlanta—Viridian Asset Management LLC, a newly formed nationwide asset management and advisory company, recently launched its BankonGreen program, which is designed to provide energy-efficient rehabilitation to properties owned by banks and financial institutions.“We started looking at how to make the home more energy-efficient and do it where the bank is the bottom line. From the social responsibility side, we knew they wouldn’t buy into it unless we came up with a process of netting them out. The selling of the property is what is really getting bogged down with depreciating values and the number of [foreclosed] properties on the market. For banks to move their properties, they have to differentiate from one to another,” explains Chuck Shelton, executive vice president of Viridian Asset Management LLC.According to Shelton, BankonGreen is designed to link and streamline traditional REO asset management services with cost-effective, energy efficiency improvements. During the rehabilitation, Viridian works to control the air infiltration system and duct work leakage, add insulation, replace current lighting with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), install low-flow toilets and faucets, and, when needed, install Energy Star appliances.Under the program, Viridian delivers certified green improvements under the nationally recognized “Home Performance with Energy Star” standard. The company has worked with Southface, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that provides environmental education and outreach programs, to learn how to analyze the potential energy efficiency of a property. Once Viridian performs an analysis of a given property, a certified contractor is brought in to ensure that the rehabilitation has been done according to plan.Once the rehabilitation is complete, RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) provides a HERS (Home Energy Rating Service) report, which may then be used by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and/or HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to ascertain the energy efficiency of a home when providing Energy Efficient Mortgages, Shelton tells MHN.Viridian’s process provides banks the ability to outsource and/or augment their existing processes with solutions ranging from best execution analysis of loans and distressed assets to rehabilitation needs, remarketing and foreclosure disposition. Additionally, Shelton notes that the rehabbed energy-efficient homes can be sold at a higher price than they would have been prior to the renovations.“It’s a package that solves a lot of issues. Banks are putting properties back into the marketplace that are better than when they got them. The community is receiving a better piece of property back that will help blighted neighborhoods. We have the added benefit of reducing one of the largest contributors to energy issues—buildings,” Shelton says.