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5 green banking tips to save the planet

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This evolving niche can be tricky to navigate but rewarding. Called the Energy Efficient Mortgage, this is a loan for green homes that can get you a 0.125 percent to 0.25 percent break on mortgage rates.

Offered through the Federal Housing Administration, the loan gives you incentives for adding energy-efficient features. There also are mortgage loans based on the government's Energy Star ratings aimed at improving energy efficiency. For more information, visit Energy Star's website.

To get a green loan, you'll need an energy rating. "It's a report, like an inspection," says Jeff Cole, CEO of myEnergyLoan.com. The cost can be hefty -- from $200 to $500 -- but the expense pays off in slightly lower mortgage rates. Your loan is a lower risk for the lender as well. "You have a more durable asset," Cole says.

Some banks such as Bank of America and Green Bank in Houston offer green mortgage loans, but there is a downside. "There's more paperwork," says Cole. "And there's a lack of loan specialists."

But the homes are healthier, he says.


 

 

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