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The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced plans for home loans with discounted interest rates for residents that utilise solar, energy efficient air conditioning and hot water systems.

The plans were revealed today when the CEFC announced a new green home loan to spearhead the construction of market leading, energy efficient housing.

Bank Australia is the first home loan provider to take up the CEFC finance, which will deliver discounted interest rates to qualifying builders and home buyers.

The new Bank Australia Clean Energy Home Loan, offering eligible borrowers a 0.4 per cent discount on their home finance, will be the first Australian green home loan to use energy efficiency measurement tools to determine eligibility.

The discounted rate will apply for up to five years for customers who buy or build homes which achieve a minimum of 7-stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), which rates the energy efficiency of a home based on its design.

The 7-star rating materially exceeds the minimum standards of the National Construction Code, and homes built to this rating require less energy for heating and cooling.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said this green home loan will fill a gap in the market, giving builders and new home buyers a financial incentive to adopt sustainable design principles from the start of the project. 

“Australians are already leading the world in residential rooftop solar. Our next challenge is to embrace better building design and construction methods, as well as energy efficiency, to cut our energy use and reduce our emissions,” he said.

The Bank Australia Clean Energy Home will draw on up to $60 million in CEFC finance, providing the interest rate discount via its Premium Package Home Loan to mortgages below $1.5 million. 

Over time, Bank Australia will extend the benefits of the Clean Energy Home Loan to existing homes, to finance ambitious green home improvements, such as energy monitoring and energy storage systems, solar hot water and energy efficient air conditioning.

The property sector accounts for about 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, with about half of those emissions coming from residential buildings – largely as a result of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and hot water systems. 

Bank Australia managing director, Damien Walsh, said Australia needed more sustainably designed and built homes to reduce emissions and help address climate change.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia have identified potential energy savings as high as 25 per cent through the adoption of higher clean energy standards in new residential buildings.   

The report, Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code, found that the benefits would flow from measures such as improved air tightness, double glazed windows, insulation, adjustable outdoor shading, ceiling fans and more efficient air conditioning, lighting and domestic hot water systems. 

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