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Going green can save you green with insurance plans

June 11, 2014

Energy-efficient home improvement projects can save you in more ways than one. While it's widely known that green remodeling upgrades can lower your annual utility bills, many people don't realize that green improvements can help lower home insurance costs.

According to The Wall Street Journal, insurers are now introducing a plethora of discounts and credits designed to prompt consumers and businesses to use more energy-efficient designs.

Some insurance providers will offer discounts for solar energy panels.

“This is no longer about public relations,” Andrew Logan, director of insurance programs for Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of companies, investors and environmental groups, told The Wall Street Journal. “Insurers are coming to realize that if we proceed with business as usual, the business of insurance will be a lot smaller.”

Some of the discounts are offered to homeowners who add solar panels or new kinds of emission producers that store carbon. Other discounts are available to owners of hybrid or electric vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported that some insurers will also provide discounts for other energy-saving devices, such as a geothermal heat pump.

Donegal Insurance Group in Pennsylvania offers a 5 percent discount for homeowners using solar energy to generate electricity. The company also offers a 5 percent discount for homeowners with geothermal heat pumps that meet the Energy Star standards.

Going green is here to stay

According to a report from McGraw Hill Construction—the Dodge Construction Market Forecast—single- and multifamily housing projects accounted for 45 percent of the value of all construction throughout the nation in 2014. McGraw Hill predicts that number will increase as residential construction continues to add energy-efficient offerings.

“Greater consumer interest in green homes has contributed to the ongoing growth, leading us to anticipate that by 2016, the green single family housing market alone will represent approximately 26 percent to 33 percent of the market, translating to an $80 billion to $101 billion opportunity based on current forecasts,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insight and Alliances for McGraw Hill Construction.

Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders, said that builders are taking on more green projects than ever before due to the growth in demand.

“While growth in green in the single-family market is driven more by high quality and customer demand, the multifamily market is more driven by cost factors such as the availability of government or utility incentives, as well as enhancing their competitive position and corporate image,” Kelly said.