Jeannie Messer reports on the savings and benefits you can be rewarded with when making greener choices for your home.
March 6, 2010
We all want to do our part to help the environment, but greener choices often mean spending a little bit more – and when it comes to housing, a lot more. For many of us, this means an energy efficient home has been an unaffordable luxury. Until now.
The Federal Government set up a green loan scheme to encourage Australians to reduce greenhouse emissions. The scheme has wound up but a group of lenders have recognised the growing demand for green products in the home loan market.
The Maleny and District Community Credit Union worked with the Australian Greenhouse Office to develop its ‘Cool Home Loan’for houses meeting a number of energy efficiency criteria, such as solar or gas hot water systems, roof insulation, external awnings or shadings, solar PV panels, dual flush toilets and AAA rated shower fittings. The loan is also available for existing customers wanting to refinance.
MECU created the goGreen Home Loan offering lower interest rates for homes that receive a 6+ star energy efficiency rating by the Nationwide Housing Energy Scheme.
If you build a home on a 500 sqm block, MECU will allocate an equivalent area of land to their Conservation Landbank in Western Victoria, to offset the loss of biodiversity. MECU also allows borrowers a repayment holiday to help purchase energy and water saving devices such as solar systems or rainwater tanks (a three-month break from full repayments, or a six month-break for half repayments). You are allowed two ‘eco-pauses’ over the life of your loan, with payments adjusted to ensure the maximum term is not exceeded.
And Bendigo Bank’s Generation Green Home Loan offers new and existing customers a 0.5 percent per annum reduction on the Bank’s residential variable rate and no monthly service fee for buildings and renovations that meet the Bank’s sustainability criteria.
Savings resulting from lower interest rates are not the only benefits of a green home loan. Greener homes use fewer resources – reducing your home’s impact on the environment – and your finances.
An early catch-cry of the green movement was “Think global, act local”. It doesn’t get any more local than your own home, so maybe it’s time you thought about going green with a more sustainable home and a more sustainable home loan.