Building Energy Efficiency – A Key enabler of Energy Improvement
An energy improvement mortgage is an individual house loan that creates an escrow account in which the borrower’s monthly payment for energy-efficient improvements to the property can be deposited. The funds can then be obtained either while a new property is purchased or through a refinance. Energy upgrades can include insulation, flooring, roofs, appliances, water heaters, etc. An energy improvement mortgage program allows the borrower to choose from a variety of projects which will improve a home’s energy efficiency. Depending on the funds available, projects can include anything from repairing windows and doors to installing high-efficiency appliances. Some energy upgrades even create additional equity in the home.
Some energy improvement mortgages
also include provisions that allow for green projects to create a positive environmental impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This reduces the energy cost to the borrower and can create a financial incentive for them to purchase environmentally friendly properties. Projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions can also significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, therefore helping to fight climate change. Other energy improvement mortgages also encourage homeowners to participate in “green” living, including buying products that are energy-efficient, driving environmentally-friendly vehicles, planting trees, recycling collected trash, and using alternative energy.
Developing local energy resources
helps to create a more secure energy future. Energy efficiency improvements created by homeowners can reduce the demand for natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Developing local energy resources reduces the amount of non-renewable energy used, thus reducing the potential threat to the economy from short-term energy shortages and blackouts. Energy efficiency improvements also help to reduce the adverse effects of climate change on ecosystems and human health and the environment.
On-going energy improvement projects reduce
the need for short-term loans which can be difficult to come by in the current economic climate. With energy-efficient mortgage products, borrowers can build a stable and long-term relationship with their mortgage lender. The result is better to mortgage repayment terms. When borrowers understand the value of energy-efficient mortgage products they will be more willing to explore options to extend the life of their mortgage loan. When the mortgage repayment period is extended, interest rates are reduced, and the monthly repayments can be lowered.
can improve the quality of life for homeowners. Energy improvements can make rooms more livable, lighten up small rooms, and add insulation to houses. Energy efficiency improvements can also reduce monthly utility bills. Installing energy-efficient windows can provide savings on heating costs. When energy-efficient windows are replaced, the heat loss can be balanced by placing more windows in the same space. Energy audit programs are currently being utilized in Australia, Canada, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Today, green products and energy solutions represent
a major challenge to all housing developers. Green products include passive solar design, active solar design, sustainable building construction, environmentally-friendly appliances, and construction materials, and the incorporation of renewable energy technology. While it may be challenging to convince home buyers that green developments will be beneficial to them, the onus is upon the developing nation to demonstrate that its people are taking action. In doing so, they will be able to show that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and energy costs can be brought down. Governments can set realistic but achievable targets and encourage private citizens to contribute to such initiatives.