5 green banking tips to save the planet

Green mortgages
5 of 7

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 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.




Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.

Ask Dr. Don

Are my savings bonds safe?

Dear Dr. Don, I have approximately $20,000 in savings bonds. Given the state of the U.S. economy, should I cash them in? How safe are they if the economy tanks, the U.S. goes bankrupt or the country gets a serious credit... Read more

Partner Center

Connect with us