5 green banking tips to save the planet

Green home equity loans
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Greening your home can pay off. These home equity loans are available from credit unions and banks such as Wainwright Bank. Projects include installing new windows, upgrading furnaces and insulating your home.

However, programs differ widely. And proving your upgrades are green can be tricky. "We don't discuss with customers what they're using their funds for," says David Herpers, a vice president of consumer credit products at U.S. Bank, which is testing its program in Colorado. "Consumers sign an affidavit, agreeing to use the funds for a designated project."

Those who qualify can get a discount of three-eighths of one point and qualify for a $1,500 federal tax credit.

Like green mortgages, these loans are more complex than green car loans.

Consumers should answer these questions first. Will this green home equity loan require additional documentation? Are there site inspections? Are there additional fees to qualify?

"There are still a lot of unanswered questions," says Herpers. "But there's a lot of talk about retrofitting homes."




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