Rate cut sought for green homebuyers

Rate cut sought for green homebuyers

SET-listed developers Sena Development Plc and Sansiri Plc will hold discussions with financial institutions in an effort to reduce the interest rate on mortgage loans for buyers of energy-saving homes, estimated at between 0.5% and 1% in the first year.

Kessara Thanyalakpark, managing director of Sena Development, said financial support in the form of low interest rate home loans would be able to encourage consumers to choose energy-saving homes, which are typically more expensive than regular homes.

"Climate change is one of the key challenges everyone around the world is facing," she said. "Energy-saving homes are not only about the environmental but also economic issues as Thailand has to import energy."

She said the costs associated with building energy-saving homes were higher than those for regular homes.

For example, the cost of a home with solar panels installed on the roof is 10-15% higher than a home that does not have one installed.

"One of the best helpers to promote solar-powered homes is the banks," she said. "Currently, banks offer a mortgage loan with an interest rate 1% lower for those buying houses installed with solar panels on the roof."

Sena plans to adopt the zero energy housing (ZEH) model from Japan by learning from its Japanese developer partner Hankyu Hanshin Properties Corp for residential developments in Thailand.

Toda Masahiko, senior general manager, overseas housing division at Hankyu Hanshin Properties Corp, said the company applied the ZEH model in relation to its residential properties and developments with the aim of reducing energy consumption to zero or closer to zero.

It has three methods to build homes with zero energy consumption, comprising passive designs, energy-efficiency systems and energy production at home from clean energy.

"If we can produce energy at home from clean energy such as solar with a sufficient amount for electric consumption, which can be further reduced through passive designs and the use of energy-efficient systems, we can get close to the ZEH idea," said Ms Kessara.

However, Sena will adapt the ZEH model to match Thailand's weather and apply an affordable price to encourage homebuyers to opt for the "greener" option.

The cost of building homes under the ZEH model is 20-30% higher than when building regular homes.

Sena teamed up with Chulalongkorn University to conduct a simulation to apply the principles of ZEH homes with its designs in order to see which parts could be adapted.

"Although our ZEH home designs only have 5% less energy consumption, we will continue to use it and apply it in both our existing and new residential projects as we cannot wait for the government's subsidy," she said.

She said that support from financial institutions is key to promoting ZEH homes.

The firm will hold discussions with the banks in a bid to reduce mortgage loan interest rates by 0.5-1% in the first year for ZEH homes.

Uthai Uthaisangsuk, chief operating officer of Sansiri, said the firm will join hands with financial partners to introduce solar mortgage loans for existing customers to promote clean energy in the residential sector.

"This year we installed 100% solar roofs at all 31 of our new single detached house projects at all price points, comprising 600 units, which can help reduce carbon by 1,477 tonnes and save energy bills by 21 million baht," he said.


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