From: David Taylor, Contributing Author
Published March 28, 2013 04:19 PM

What You Need To Know About Green Mortgage

Making environmentally friendly choices is more than recycling or turning the lights off. Every decision can actually have a positive impact on the world. What many people don't know is that applying for home loans can lower greenhouse emissions. Thus, improving the energy efficiency of a home and looking for loans to fund such projects can save people on energy costs and lower their carbon footprint.

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Environmental Impact of Energy Efficiency at Home

Steve Baden, Executive Director for the Residential Energy Services Network, which regulates home energy ratings' standards, says that homes contribute up to 21% of the greenhouse emissions. Thus, the smallest home improvement projects can have a huge impact on a home's energy use.

Cut Utility Costs

Green home improvement projects help homeowners cut utility bills in half. This saves hundreds of dollars every year, if not more. An investment today will have a large payoff later on down the line. This is why green home loans are a valuable investment. These funds give people the chance to lower their expenses and do something positive for the environment.

Understanding the Triple Bottom Line

When people look for a home loan or improvement financing, loan officers talk to them about adding a green element to their request. Triple bottom line looks at a loan's benefits to a financial organization, the community and the environment. Addressing all sides to this help homeowners get approved for funding.

Increased Funding Options

Some banks will even offer larger sums of money to people who want to make energy improvements to their property. This happens because the property becomes more valuable. Homes with energy efficient features are more comfortable, easier to maintain and easier to sell in today's day and age.

Invest in an Energy Audit

Many lenders today offer green mortgages. The key difference between a traditional and conventional loan is that an energy audit is needed. Professionals can come in, survey the property and identify ways to make the home greener or more energy efficient. This shows a lender that improvements and updates truly will enhance the property. There audit's cost can be incorporated into a home loan, and there are many rebates that can also pay for this expense.

Decide on the Improvement Projects

The smallest improvements can have a huge impact on a home's energy efficiency. For example, adding extra caulking and sealing around doors, windows, and outlets or including foam insulation in attics and crawlspaces can keep energy from escaping. Additionally, people can be more ambitious and add solar panels to the home, replace lighting fixtures and more. Homeowners should look at the home and make a list of improvements. This will help a financial organization decide the amount of the green mortgage or home loan as well as interest rates and fees. Lower utility costs and higher re-sell value make the investment worthwhile for everyone involved.

Update a Property's Appliances

Another green investment people can make is to update the appliances in a home. Changing the refrigerator, heating and cooling system and water heater can significantly cut expenses. This gives people a lot of bang for their buck and can also qualify for people for higher loans.

Easier to Repay Green Mortgages

Green mortgages are easier to repay because monthly utility bills and related costs are far lower once the improvements and updates have been completed. Additionally, there are also tax benefits to people who make their homes energy efficient. And of course, people can be comforted with the fact that their home has increased in value thanks to the improvements and financing.

Banks today want to offer green mortgages because they help the financial organization, the community and the environment. This is a win-win situation for the bank and for the would-be homeowner. Changing the home's appliances and investing in home improvement projects greatly lowers carbon emissions. All people need to do is have an energy audit done on a home and to discuss options with different lenders.

David Taylor is a contributing writer for MortgageLoan.com, a leading publisher of mortgage rate information, news, consumer guides and tools for consumers and mortgage and real estate professionals.

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