5 ways to make your home greener and save money

Posted: 1 December 2021 9:25 am
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You can make green and wallet-friendly decisions about your home, your choice of energy provider, insurer, even your mortgage lender.

Australian consumers have more options to green up their home than ever before. This includes simple admin tasks like switching to a greener energy provider or insurer, to overhauling your home with energy efficient fixtures and systems. You can even get a green home loan.

Making greener decisions about your home is obviously good for the planet. But it can work out better for you financially too.

Green energy

Switching to a greener energy provider is better for the planet and doesn't have to cost you extra. It might even work out cheaper.

"Research shows that household energy consumption comprises nearly a third of your annual carbon footprint," said Finder energy expert Mariam Gabaji. "Consider switching to a 100% green energy provider or alternatively, adding on GreenPower to your plan. This will ensure your provider sends renewable energy back to the grid on your behalf."

There are many Australian energy companies who offset their carbon emissions or sell completely renewable energy.

Here's a quick list to get you started:

Recent Finder research found that switching to green energy could save households up to $321 a year.

Embrace the sun

Paying for cleaner energy is one thing, but you can go even further and convert to solar power. Installing solar panels can cost you thousands, but the panels will pay for themselves in 3-6 years.

And as solar systems get cheaper (and electricity prices rise), more people are embracing solar. According to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 24% of Australians say they've put solar panels on their house or apartment.

Green up your home loan

You may be scratching your head at the words "green home loan" but it's a real thing. Several Australian lenders now offer some very competitive interest rates to customers buying energy efficient homes.

Here are some lenders offering green home loans. To qualify for most of these loans you need a home that meets certain energy sufficiency requirements:

  • loans.com.au Green Home Loan (a discounted rate if your home has a NatHERS rating of 7 or higher).
  • Bank Australia Clean Energy Home Loan (rate discounts for a 7+ star rated home).
  • Gateway Bank Green Home Loan (a discounted rate if your home has a Residential Efficiency Scoreboard of 4-6 stars, and a bigger discount at 7+).
  • Regional Australia Bank Sustainable Home Loan (your home must pass minimum environmental standards in your state or territory).
  • Firstmac Green Basic and Green Offset Home Loans (a discounted rate if your home has a NatHERS rating of 7 or higher).

Go green from the ground up

If you are looking at building a home from scratch you're in a unique position to make environmentally friendly design choices. This doesn't have to mean putting in expensive double-glazed windows, but basics like insulation, ensuring there's adequate greenery in your block and the direction your property faces, which affects how much sunlight enters your home and at what time of day.

Even something as simple as the colour of your roof makes a difference. Black roof tiles, a popular choice, absorb more solar radiation and can make your home hotter in summer. The New South Wales government is moving to ban dark roofs right now for this reason.

Existing home owners can renovate their homes to make them more eco-friendly. You could landscape your garden with increased tree cover, install solar energy systems or add outdoor blinds.

Companies such as Brighte (Finder's Green Lender of the Year) offer personal loans for home renovations. It even has a green-specific loan for solar energy products with a competitive rate.

Switch to a greener insurer

You can make greener decisions on your home, contents and car insurance policies too. In Finder's 2021 Green Awards, insurer QBE won greenest insurer of the year. 60% of the electricity QBE uses in its daily operations comes from green sources, and the company has signed up to environmental initiatives such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Carbon Disclosure Project and Climatewise.

Keen to green in other parts of your life? Here are 9 tips for making eco-friendly choices across your home and beyond. Check out our Finder Green guides for more inspiration.

Find the right home loan now

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