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Eco home improvement is currently trending among homeowners – and for good reason. The average household spends about $2,000 a year on home energy costs, most of which are caused by inefficient systems and uninsulated windows. But the benefits of greening your home aren’t just financial: eco-friendly home improvements also make for a safer and healthier environment.
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While the benefits of green home improvement are many, some may require a significant investment. For example, solar panels can cost between $17,760 and $23,828 after tax credits, according to EnergySage, a solar energy marketplace sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. And although not all environmentally friendly housing projects are expensive, fortunately, for those who do, there are many options to finance them and reduce their costs.
Projects fall under the umbrella of Eco home development. But when you green your home, experts recommend that you make improvements that will lower your costs in the long run.
“We encourage homeowners to make investments that will help them use their energy wisely,” said Madeline Priest, senior marketing manager for Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC) in Rocky Hill, Conn.
The real impact on your energy bills can be seen through home ecological improvements such as new insulation or measures such as solar photovoltaic (PV) roofs to generate your own energy, Priest said. Here’s a look at some common and high ROI green home improvement products.
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Up to 43% of all the energy you use goes to heating and cooling your home. You can significantly reduce that by replacing old or inefficient systems with new, energy-efficient units like those that use heat pump technology, Priest said.
Air leaking in and out of your home through walls, ceilings, windows, doors and other areas can increase your energy costs. Sealing draft leaks with caulk, spray foam and weatherstripping can save you between 5% and 30% per year – plus, it can make your home more comfortable.
Adding insulation to attics, basements (or crawl spaces) and exterior walls is one of the fastest and most expensive green home improvements, according to Energy.gov. When done in conjunction with air leakage, these eco-friendly home improvements can significantly reduce your operating costs. Consider cotton insulation as an alternative to fiberglass – but expect about 15% to 20% more time to install.
A small adjustment to your thermostat can save you about 10% on your annual heating and cooling costs. To ensure your system operates at an efficient temperature, replace your portable thermostat with a programmable or smart thermostat that automatically controls and adjusts your home’s temperature.
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The option of installing a solar panel system may not be available to all homeowners depending on their location. However, improving your home’s ecosystem can save you little or no electricity.
Priest said that replacing all lighting with LEDs is an easy and inexpensive green home improvement. This simple solution can reduce your lighting energy usage by 50% to 75%.
Whether you are a new home buyer looking to build your own green home or an existing home owner interested in sustainable home improvement, there are many ways to finance your eco-friendly home project.
“There are a lot of good options around the country for financing home energy improvements,” said Priest, whose company, IPC, offers special personal loans for green home improvements. But, it can be confusing to know where to start, he added.
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Financing options include energy efficiency home loan programs, personal loans People, discounts on electrical appliances and many more. Regardless of how you choose to pay for your eco-friendly home improvement, according to Priest, it’s important to take advantage of all local, state and federal rebates, programs and grants, including effective federal property tax credits.
Borrowers have several options for financing eco-friendly home improvements with conventional loans, which are loans that are not backed by the federal government.
HomeStyle® Energy Mortgage. This loan program – available from private lenders and guaranteed by Fannie Mae – allows buyers to purchase a new home and finance future eco home improvements at the time of purchase. Down payments can be as low as 3%, but borrowers who put less than 20% down must pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) until they reach 20 percent of the home. Mortgages are available under this program and receive up to 15% of the value of the home to make ecological home improvements or pay for recent financial improvements.
GreenCHOICE Mortgage®. Freddie Mac’s eco-friendly home improvement loan options offer affordable financing for both new home purchases and mortgage financing. The borrower covers the loan and the cost of improvement – up to 15% of the expected value of the property. This loan option is also available to low-income borrowers or those Get a lower loan by combining it with the Freddie Mac Home Possible® program. Borrowers interested in this offer must apply to private lenders.
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The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) program covers environmentally friendly home improvements in new and existing homes, or the purchase of an energy efficient home. As with traditional mortgage options, homeowners finance future environmental improvements in advance at the time of purchase or refinance.
Through this program, borrowers can put down as little as 3.5% and may receive a loan that is higher than the standard FHA loan limit, based on the expected cost of eco-friendly home improvements or the adjusted value of the property.
Homebuyers can also combine FHA’s EEM with the agency’s 203(k) loan. In addition, under the program, borrowers can also finance green home improvements, such as installing solar or wind systems or air conditioners in the home.
Active duty military members, veterans and eligible military spouses can finance green home improvements with loans guaranteed by the US Department of State. (VA). The VA EEM program allows borrowers to finance the purchase of a new eco-friendly home or refinance an existing home, as well as the cost of future sustainable home improvements, in advance.
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In addition to mortgage options that include solar panels as an eco-improvement for managed homes, homeowners can finance the cost of a solar energy system directly with the installer. Some also offer rental options.
Manufacturers of other eco-friendly home improvement products and services also offer financing options, often run by installers. Priest said this type of financing is common for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
The PACE housing program is a federal program administered by individual states and localities. Currently only available in California, Florida and Missouri, homeowners with access to the PACE housing program can receive money to make a variety of home environmental improvements, including HVAC system upgrades, installing energy-efficient windows and doors, replacing old appliances and more. Other improvements..
The program provides a lump sum of money to complete a green home improvement project, and homeowners repay the loan over a set period of time (usually between 10 and 20 years) as an addition to their tax bill.
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To encourage homeowners to make sustainable home improvements and reduce energy use, state and local governments, regional banks and service providers offer financing programs, tax credits and other incentives.
Using a personal loan to complete a home improvement project is a popular option among homeowners. Personal loan amounts typically range from $1,000 to $50,000, and repayment terms can typically vary from six months to five years. If you use a loan to improve your eco home, expect to pay a higher interest rate than a mortgage product, but a lower rate than a credit card.
Some lenders offer special personal loans for green home improvements. This financing option is similar to a personal loan, your home or other collateral does not guarantee the money and you will make fixed monthly payments. However, these loans are designed for ecological home improvements only; You will need to provide an estimate from the contractor and work with the lender in most cases.
If you have property in your home, you can access it to make improvements to your eco home. Homeowners have three ways to get their financing: a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a refinance.
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As you think about how to finance your green home improvement, Pristi recommends weighing a number of factors, including how quickly you want to complete your improvement, how long you’re willing to be in debt and the type of payment your budget can support. You should also consider the following benefits and risks.
You can complete your eco home improvement quickly. With loan programs available, you won’t have to wait to complete your green home improvement. Because the loan amount is based on the value of the property after improvements, you will receive an advance payment.
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