Going Green – Are Green Finance Deals Really Worth It?

Whether you are looking to go green because you are selflessly trying to help save the planet, you want to save some of your hard-earned cash, or, most likely, a combination of the two, deciding to make your lifestyle and your home more environmentally friendly does come at a cost.

Green Finance

Fortunately, lenders are now offering more cost-effective ways for you to embrace sustainability. From solar panel agreements to energy improvement mortgages to short-term loans for smaller green changes, keep reading to discover all the green finance deals on offer.

Energy Improvement Mortgages

If you are looking to make eco-friendly improvements to your home, such as more energy-efficient windows, additional insulation, or a better heating and cooling system, an energy improvement mortgage can help you to achieve your goals.

For those that already have a mortgage, you can increase your loan amount to cover the costs of your new upgrades. Although this will increase your monthly mortgage payments, you will recoup this over time through lower energy bills.

In fact, by simply installing double-glazed windows in your home, you can expect to save $250-$300 per year. Given that these windows can last up to 20 years, this could save you $6000 over their life span. Furthermore, if you choose to install triple-glazed windows, you can expect further savings of between 5%-10%.

Short-term loans

If you are looking to make a series of smaller changes to your home, which do all add up to significant savings, your best bet may be to take out a short-term loan.

Cashlady offers quick cash loans that can be approved almost immediately, typically lending lower amounts that are paid back within short timeframes.

Small green upgrades that you may want to consider making include:

  • Installing LED lights that last longer and waste less energy than standard fluorescent bulbs – save up to $75 a year.
  • Fixing any inside or outside leaks – save up to $35 a year.
  • Replacing an old toilet with a WaterSense model – save $100 per year.
  • Planting shade trees – save $35-$199 a year.
  • Purchasing energy-efficient appliances. By upgrading all of your appliances, including your dishwasher, oven, fridge-freezer, and kettles to ones with a higher efficiency rating, you will use up to 40% less energy.

Solar leasing or PPAs 

Did you know that more than 75% of American households have access to third-party owned solar power?

What exactly is this?

Both solar leasing and power purchase agreements involve the solar provider in question paying for and being the rightful owner of your solar power system. They will take care of the system installation, the maintenance, and any repairs that need carrying out.

solar-leasing

Solar leasing can be advantageous, as you do not need to pay for any upfront costs to install the solar system. However, the savings you make will be less than if you purchased the solar panels outright, plus the provider is entitled to the financial incentives for going solar.

Alternatively, if you want to purchase solar panels outright, you could consider a home equity loan. Buying solar panels is not a cheap option (you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $30,000 depending on the size of your home). However, they are expected to last for at least 25 years with a less than 10-year payback on the system, meaning you could potentially enjoy 15 years of free electricity.

Green Home Improvements to Attract Homebuyers

People’s desire to make a smaller footprint on a vulnerable planet affects the real estate market worldwide. In part this is due to the Internet’s power to inform and inspire, and it is partly due to who is buying the most homes. Millennials have made up more than half of homebuyers over the last few years. And millennials, surveys have shown, are willing to pay more for sustainability and the greenest possible living.

They often opt for new construction with the highest eco-friendly standards, but not every buyer will purchase a new home. Some millennials are not ready to make that financial commitment, and some will not be buying in trending locations that have lots of new green construction. So to attract buyers to an existing home, green home improvements can be a big win. Not only will the homeowner be doing the right thing by the planet, but also homes can sell faster and for more.

Although making green changes to an existing home can be complicated and expensive, there are many levels of improvement that vary in cost and difficulty.

What Meets the Eye

Green upgrades the buyer can see in an existing home make a difference. If you are upgrading, you can go more sustainable and energy-efficient in these areas:

  • Non-toxic paint: The volatile organic compounds (VOC) in some paint can damage air quality and lungs. Choose a low-VOC paint to get that fresh, neutral look buyers want.
  • Sustainable flooring: Replace worn-out floors with highly renewable bamboo, with responsibly grown and harvested hardwoods, or with natural linoleum products.
  • A cool roof: Renovate the roof with light-colored materials that reflect heat.
  • Energy-efficient appliances: Update the kitchen with appliances, and even faucets, that run on less energy and/or use less water.
  • Native plants: Refresh the landscape with plants native to the environment, that will need less specialty care products and that will support local ecology.

Energize

Green changes that make a home energy-efficient will attract buyers and also give sellers the ROI of an eco-friendly home. Because they save money, these improvements also make money and bring return on investment.

  • Update to a Smart Thermostat: A programmable thermostat ensures heating and cooling meet your needs without waste.
  • New windows: The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 25-30% of energy costs literally get sucked right out of old windows, where leaks in both directions waste resources and money. New windows also beautify a home.
  • Weather protection: If new windows are not an option, caulking and weather-stripping are also efficient.
  • Tankless water heater: Upgrade an old water heater that needs to go anyway with a tankless one, that heats water as needed. Why waste energy heating gallons of water all the time?
  • Recycled water: Systems for catching rainwater, or holding water from sinks and tubs (greywater) can save waste and money. This water can flush toilets and water gardens, among other uses.
  • Renewable energy sources: Depending on the climate, solar panels and/or wind turbines can provide energy in place of using other, non-renewing resources.

Before making green improvements, research is the seller’s best tool. Understand the options, costs, and benefits. An experienced real estate agent can advise on what green improvements are most wanted and bring the best ROI in the local market. Also make sure the home is appraised by someone experienced with green features, to make sure their real value is represented in the appraisal.