Mortgage company plants first trees for carbon neutral customers
The Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) have planted the first trees intended to offset harmful emissions from its customers’ homes.
N&P announced its intention to make its Green Mortgage carbon neutral in July last year (see related story), in association with the environmental group Future Forests. Since the launch of the Green Mortgage in 1998, its take-up has been increasing as awareness of the importance of homeowners doing their bit for the environment has grown, a N&P spokesperson told edie, with the result that the fund has now reached £37 million.
N&P is planting 40 trees for every home which is purchased or re-mortgaged to N&P using the Green Mortgage which, in effect, means eight trees per year for five years of a fixed term mortgage. Combined with other energy efficiency initiatives, this makes the house carbon neutral for that period. Customers are then offered the choice to carry on with the scheme with Future Forests at the end of the term.
“Homes contribute more CO2 – the ‘greenhouse’ gas – than cars. “Around 26% of carbon dioxide emissions, in fact,” said Stephen Penlington, N&P’s General Manager. “Our aim is to neutralise the harmful effect this has by planting trees for every customer who takes out a Carbon Neutral® mortgage. Making their homes more energy efficient saves our customers money and helps the environment – everyone wins.”
There are two green mortgages, with either a 1.00% or 1.25% discount for four years, depending on whether it is a new mortgage or a re-mortgage. Incentives also include a free energy survey, £500 cashback towards home improvements, free standard property valuation, or no redemption interest.
“The only way we are going to be able to deal with climate change is if we all begin to take responsibility for some of the CO2 we produce,” said Dan Morrell, Chairman of Future Forests. “Norwich and Peterborough’s initiative is helping to raise awareness of the problem and also shows how people can do something practical about it – being more energy efficient and planting trees to absorb non-reducible emissions. The natural long-term woodland that results also, of course, has the added benefit of increasing public amenity space. Everybody wins.”