Year-round Sunshine Is A Great Incentive To Go Green

Besides being the right thing to do, an environmentally friendly lifestyle can save you money. Eco-friendly options, such as hybrid/electric vehicles, solar water heating, energy-saving appliances and photovoltaic electricity generation are gaining widespread popularity. This is especially true in Hawaii, where energy costs are at a premium, but our great weather and year-round sunshine provide a fabulous opportunity to go green.

In fact, our energy costs have encouraged many Hawaii consumers to look at alternative options. According to Derek Wong, Vice President of Credit Products at First Hawaiian Bank, the long-term savings are most appealing when considering that utility costs are likely to continue rising.

Choosing Energy Star-certified appliances, which use less energy and less water, are popular ways to be green-savvy, and often don’t cost more than other less-efficient products. Other home improvement projects such as updating old windows and installing energy-efficient light fixtures and ceiling fans also help lower utility costs in the long run. Even choices as simple as buying energy-efficient light bulbs can save you a few hundred dollars a year.

“The biggest motivation for going green that we have observed is the long-term savings on monthly utility bills,” said Wong. “I think most people realize that we don’t want to be solely dependent on shipping fuel to Hawaii for most of our energy needs. Governor Ige has signed a bill setting a goal of 100 percent of Hawaii’s energy come from renewable sources by 2045.”

Photovoltaic systems and solar panels are by far the most popular ways to go green. They are generally going to have the largest financial impact, because after the upfront cost of the materials and labor for installation is recovered, the pay-back is significant.

“Photovoltaic home improvements are popular in the Islands because we have an abundance of solar exposure year-round. So it makes perfect sense that this would be a cost efficient form of energy in the long run,” said Wong.

In the past, installation costs for these eco-friendly systems have discouraged some from taking the first steps, but this is no longer the case. First Hawaiian Bank offers convenient and flexible financing options for photovoltaic systems.

“First Hawaiian Bank wants to help customers go green, but understands that the price of these improvements, especially photovoltaics, can be intimidating and cost prohibitive,” Wong explained. “Thus, we wanted to offer attractive financing options that can help consumers realize their long-term goals of lower energy costs and helping the environment.”

The EnergySmartSM photo-voltaic financing program helps customers to convert Hawaii’s sunshine into savings on the purchase and installation of a photovoltaic system. Also, the home equity line of credit option can be used for any additional improvements you might be planning.

“Taking an EnergySmart loan is appealing because it is structured with a longer term to help reduce your monthly payments, and the interest rate may be lower with the home equity line of credit option than with other unsecured ‘green’ loan options,” Wong said.

Everyone wants to feel good about helping the environment and reducing their ecological footprint. First Hawaiian Bank is committed to the environment, too. To find out more about an EnergySmart loan or other financing options for your green projects, contact a personal banker at First Hawaiian Bank.

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Michael Marks
Sandwich Isles Realty
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