What Are Green Mortgages?
Green mortgages have started to become more popular over the last few years. We’re all becoming more environmentally aware and no more is this true than in the case of families with children. Parents are only too aware of the damage that’s been caused to the planet by mankind and they are keen to consider any initiatives which can help to repair any of the damage and to make the world a ‘greener’ place for their children and future generations to come and an environmentally friendly mortgage is one obvious example of that.
With carbon emissions and global warming continually making the headlines alongside the Government’s stance towards prodding us all in the right direction to become ‘greener’ and more environmentally friendly, this has not gone unnoticed in the banking sector. In fact, a small number of financial institutions have already started to promote ‘green mortgages’ as a more sustainable and ecologically sound way of financing our homes.
What is a ‘Green’ Mortgage?At present, there are no clear definitions as to this due to the fact that different lenders are offering consumers different options. However, the ultimate goal of the lenders is to have consumers buying financial services that will benefit the environment in one way or another.
For example, an ecological mortgage might be offered to home buyers who have committed to buying a property which has been constructed with sustainable materials. Or, it may be a lender will offer a more favourable rate to those who are taking action to ensure that their home is energy efficient such as installing insulation products and energy efficient boilers etc. In other instances, the positive benefits may come about in the form of the lender agreeing to plant a certain amount of trees as a result of selling green finance or making some kind of donation to a charity concerned with looking after the environment.
Why are Some Banks Interested in This?Mortgage lending is big business and there are several hundred companies all competing for your money. With recycling and many other environmental initiatives having shifted emphasis from just big business to incorporate us as individuals and what we can all do to help to save the planet, this has tapped into many people’s psyches to do their own ‘bit’. Banks and other mortgage lenders have realised this too so, whilst their actions should be welcomed, their motives are just as likely to be down to tapping into those who have made a firm commitment to be greener and to sell ecologically sound financial products that meet with a person’s ethics when it comes to the environment. They also realise that people who are committed to being environmentally friendly are also more likely to want to borrow even more money over time to buy the latest energy saving technologies, hence more money for them.
What’s in it for us as Consumers?It’s already clear that the cost of electricity, gas and oil has rocketed over the past few years in particular and people are increasingly looking at ways to reduce these costs. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are yet to reach the vast majority of us and uncertainty surrounding their overall cost and sustainability over a longer period of time is still yet to be fully proven. However, with more research and development alongside the commitment of many of the world’s leading nations to reduce global warming, governments around the world have already begun offering incentives to ‘go green’ in the form of financial subsidies and this trend is only going to get bigger. Therefore, as consumers who can afford to take a longer term view, green mortgages are possibly likely to prove cheaper for us in the long run, an energy efficient home is going to be more attractive to home buyers in the future and, we can all do our bit for the planet at the same time and help our children to also realise the importance of ‘going greener’ which will, hopefully, be a philosophy passed down to their children too.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not green mortgages will catch on for the majority of the UK population and that will be very much determined by cost savings in the long term and us, as consumers, thinking that we have benefited overall or whether or not it’s simply a case of the banks coming up with another strategy to make even more money out of us. And, even if the cost savings aren’t necessarily apparent, many of us will start choosing a green mortgage, if only to show our commitment to making the environment a better place for our children and for further generations to come.