Ireland has begun introducing it's first equity release mortgages which will allow homeowners to borrow money so that they can introduce new green technology into their homes. This retrofitting of their homes has recently been launched in February and will enable homeowners to save money and energy by installing these eco friendly technologies within their homes.
Some Irish banks are launching these schemes. This may come as a surprise to some people due to the fact that Ireland suffered badly in the economic meltdown but it shows that green retrofitting is beginning to become noticed in Ireland. It also points towards lenders taking green issues seriously and is wiling to spend money to eventually make it back.
Many property prices in Ireland are continuing to drop but the banks are recognising that if you spend money to save energy in your home then it will reinforce and perhaps increase your property's value. The logic behind the scheme is easily explained due to the spiralling costs of gas, oil and electricity on a monthly basis in the UK and Ireland. Heating your home has never been as expensive as it is today and prices seem to keep going up and up.
How does it work?
In Ireland, as long as you have enough equity in your home and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has approved your home suitable for a retrofit grant then you qualify; it is as simple as that. It is paid to those undertaking the improvements, this could be anything from extra insulation in your roof or your walls. It also covers a more efficient boiler being installed than the current one in your home. Solar panels heating systems, geothermal heat pumps or wood chip and pellet burners are also classed as being part of an eco retrofit.
In Ireland customers can borrow anything from 5,000 Euros up to a possible 90% of the value of your home. Repayments can be anything from five years up to a possible 30 years. The benefits of this product is that when you combine the retrofit grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with a green equity release loan the customer pays little upfront for the improvements to their home but they notice the savings on their energy bills immediately. However due to the frontloaded interest repayments you do have to make payments straight away to the bank.
In the UK there are also some mortgage lenders who are offering their clients "green mortgages".
Fiona Davies is sales director of http://www.ecofriendlyhomescompany.com/
She has worked in the last business for the last ten years.