Energy efficiency rates highest on Aussie home improvement wish lists: Ratesetter

Marble countertops and rose gold faucets may be all the rage, but when it comes to the most popular home improvements, new figures from personal loan lender RateSetter show that Australians are actually most eager to make energy efficient upgrades to their homes.

Data from the peer-to-peer lender revealed that ‘green’ upgrades accounted for 37% of all home improvement renovations undertaken by borrowers, followed by painting and decorating (35%) and outdoor upgrades (20%).

When it came to the energy efficient improvements homeowners were most likely to undertake in the next 12 months, 61% of respondents to a May survey by RateSetter said they planned to install solar panels and batteries, followed by energy efficient lighting (46%) and energy efficient heating and cooling systems (35%).

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According to Ratesetter Australia CEO, Daniel Foggo, the lenders’ Green Loan Lending Market, which facilitates green loans for both homes and businesses, has been part of the reason behind the rise in loans for energy efficient upgrades.

“We launched our Green Loan lending market 12 months ago and it’s been extremely successful, with almost 1,000 homeowners using low cost finance through RateSetter to purchase energy efficient and renewable energy products to improve their home,” he said.

“Many homeowners will often be better off in year one through reduced energy bills and recoup their investment in less than 10 years.”

Short term outlay, long term gain

Given that energy bills can be one of the largest contributors to household financial stress, it may be unsurprising that many Australians are making energy efficient investments in their homes in order to reduce their costs down the line.

And it turns out that homeowners in the Northern Territory are leading the way, with RateSetter data showing that Territorians borrowed $11,462.51 on average for green upgrades, followed by borrowers in Tasmania ($11,309.23) and New South Wales ($10,292.38).

Aussie home owners aren’t alone in prioritising energy efficiency though, with a recent survey commissioned by Origin Energy showcasing the desire among renters for properties equipped with solar and battery systems that can help cut down power bills.

Origin Energy’s survey revealed that 55% of renters would be happy to pay at least $10 more a week to rent a home with solar panels, meaning green upgrades could well prove a savvy long term investment for property investors.  

“The benefit the tenant gets to reduce their power consumption obviously has a value attached to it,” said Origin Energy’s Lyn Bowring in an article published by Domain.

“It’s also about the increased attractiveness of their property to a tenant,” she said. “It’s a way to differentiate their property.”

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