Environmentally friendly mortgages are the new black

Environmental responsibility is changing the way some people view energy consumption, and it may be on the brink of changing the way the housing market is viewed. While cars and other methods of transportation get a large amount of bad press, some people are beginning to see the effect home energy usage is having as well. Because of this shift in perspective, green real estate is a quickly growing market.

Not only does having an energy-efficient home save money on heating, cooling and other utility costs, but many states, as well as a number of banks now offer special deals on mortgages and loans for those who are looking to buy a green home. These deals can include a lack of closing costs, lowered interest rates and various cash-back incentives.

In some areas, these programs have been increasing the demand for green homes as well. Energy Star certified homes increased to 17 percent of all single family homes built, an increase from 12 percent of two years earlier, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Portland ranks second in the nation in terms of its LEED-certified buildings per capita. This is an encouraging development for those who wish to find such a home in the Portland area.