Six ways to make your home environmentally friendly

Six ways to make your home environmentally friendly

Climate change is tipped to bring a raft of changes with it, but nowhere will it be more prominent than in the housing patterns of Australians. Fortunately, lenders are starting to get on board and help borrowers to be environmentally responsible. For example, Bank Australia home loans let borrowers take an ‘eco-pause’ – a three-month pause in repayments to pay for eco upgrades to their homes.

If you are environmentally conscious, then why not start making a few changes in your own backyard. Here are some great tips.

  1. Install a water tank

A rainwater tank has multiple benefits. It can help you reduce your water consumption, save you money on your water bills and can help you to irrigate the garden, especially during a dry period. State water services have information about where to buy and install the tanks.  

  1. Install insulation

If you want to keep your home cool on hot summer days and warm on frosty winter days, insulation could be the answer. In winter, up to 35 per cent of heat is lost through the ceilings and up to 20 per cent through the floors, according to Sustainability Victoria. In summer, the pattern is reversed and those same proportions seep in through the ceiling and floor. More information about insulation can be found here.



  1. Go energy efficient

Household appliances are well known for zapping up energy even when they’re not in use. Fridges and dishwashers are top offenders. Look for a high energy efficiency rating when you’re shopping for whitegoods and don’t forget to target energy efficient light bulbs and adapters too.

  1. Add skylights

While you’re looking at light bulbs, why not consider some natural ways to improve the lighting around your home to reduce your use of lights and lamps during the day. A skylight offers great natural light and warmth to the areas of the home it hits. Before you install a skylight though, it’s worth getting some advice from a designer about where to situate it to maximise the benefits.

  1. Invest in solar panels

Solar panels no longer attract the generous government rebates they once did, but if used right, they still have the potential to reduce your power bills, while helping the planet. Win-win. Websites like SolarChoice can help you to compare the options.

  1. Plant a vegetable garden and begin composting

Setting up a veggie patch requires a bit of time and patience, but once it takes off, you’ll save on grocery bills as well as reducing CO2 emissions. Once you start consuming your fresh food, you can use the waste for composting to improve your soil. Compost soil also requires less water.

This article is sponsored by Bank Australia.

Bank Australia is among the lenders leading the charge on the environment. It has a 954-hectare conservation reserve, which is part-owned by each and every customer. It also invests part of its profits into the Bank Australia Impact Fund and is carbon neutral.

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Learn more about home loans

What is a specialist lender?

Specialist lenders, also known as non-conforming lenders, are lenders that offer mortgages to ‘non-vanilla’ borrowers who struggle to get finance at mainstream banks.

That includes people with bad credit, as well as borrowers who are self-employed, in casual employment or are new to Australia.

Specialist lenders take a much more flexible approach to assessing mortgage applications than mainstream banks.

Mortgage Calculator, Repayment Frequency

How often you wish to pay back your lender. 

Why should you trust Real Time Ratings?

Real Time Ratings™ was conceived by a team of data experts who have been analysing trends and behaviour in the home loan market for more than a decade. It was designed purely to meet the evolving needs of home loan customers who wish to merge low cost with flexible features quickly. We believe it fills a glaring gap in the market by frequently re-rating loan products based on the changes lenders make daily.

Real Time Ratings™ is a new idea and will change over time to match the frequently-evolving demands of the market. Some things won’t change though – it will always rate all relevent products in our database and will not be influenced by advertising.

If you have any feedback about Real Time Ratings™, please get in touch.

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Term

How long you wish to take to pay off your loan. 

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Results

These are the loans that may be suitable, based on your pre-selected criteria. 

Monthly Repayment

Your current monthly home loan repayment. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate payment figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement.

What does going guarantor' mean?

Going guarantor means a person offers up the equity in their home as security for your loan. This is a serious commitment which can have major repercussions if the person is not able to make their repayments and defaults on their loan. In this scenario, the bank will legally be able to the guarantor until the debt is settled.

Not everyone can be a guarantor. Lenders will generally only allow immediate family members to act as a guarantor but this can sometimes be stretched to include extended family depending on the circumstances.

How much are repayments on a $250K mortgage?

The exact repayment amount for a $250,000 mortgage will be determined by several factors including your deposit size, interest rate and the type of loan. It is best to use a mortgage calculator to determine your actual repayment size.

For example, the monthly repayments on a $250,000 loan with a 5 per cent interest rate over 30 years will be $1342. For a loan of $300,000 on the same rate and loan term, the monthly repayments will be $1610 and for a $500,000 loan, the monthly repayments will be $2684.

Mortgage Calculator, Interest Rate

The percentage of the loan amount you will be charged by your lender to borrow. 

What is bridging finance?

A loan of shorter duration taken to buy a new property before a borrower sells an existing property, usually taken to cover the financial gap that occurs while buying a new property without first selling an older one.

Usually, these loans have higher interest rates and a shorter repayment duration.

Why is it important to get the most up-to-date information?

The mortgage market changes constantly. Every week, new products get launched and existing products get tweaked. Yet many ratings and awards systems rank products annually or biannually.

We update our product data as soon as possible when lenders make changes, so if a bank hikes its interest rates or changes its product, the system will quickly re-evaluate it.

Nobody wants to read a weather forecast that is six months old, and the same is true for home loan comparisons.

What happens to your mortgage when you die?

There is no hard and fast answer to what will happen to your mortgage when you die as it is largely dependent on what you have set out in your mortgage agreement, your will (if you have one), other assets you may have and if you have insurance. If you have co-signed the mortgage with another person that person will become responsible for the remaining debt when you die.

If the mortgage is in your name only the house will be sold by the bank to cover the remaining debt and your nominated air will receive the remaining sum if there is a difference. If there is a turn in the market and the sale of your house won’t cover the remaining debt the case may go to court and the difference may have to be covered by the sale of other assets.  

If you have a life insurance policy your family may be able to use some of the lump sum payment from this to pay down the remaining mortgage debt. Alternatively, your lender may provide some form of mortgage protection that could assist your family in making repayments following your passing.

Mortgage Calculator, Deposit

The proportion you have already saved to go towards your home. 

What is the average annual percentage rate?

Also known as the comparison rate, or sometimes the ‘true rate’ of a loan, the average annual percentage rate (AAPR) is used to indicate the overall cost of a loan after considering all the fees, charges and other factors, such as introductory offers and honeymoon rates.

The AAPR is calculated based on a standardised loan amount and loan term, and doesn’t include any extra non-standard charges.