By Senator Lena C. Taylor
April 22 was Earth Day. First observed in 1970, the day was created to highlight the importance of educating the public about the need for clean water, air and protecting our lands. When you’re out for a walk, the supply of fresh air seems endless. However, we know that cities like Denver and San Francisco have experienced smog and pollutants that can have harmful effects on the health of their residents. Asthma and lung irritation are the most notable health risks, but left unchecked, the consequences of not controlling these pollutants can cause deadly results. No city is immune.
With the increase of cars, industry, deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels and more, we know that we are creating pollutants that harm more than just the air. In urban and suburban communities, researchers frequently wrestle with the issue of stormwater runoff. This is the result of much of our land being covered with buildings and pavement, making it difficult for rain and snow to absorb into the ground. Instead, the water from snow and rain, runs directly into our waterways. The runoff waters can carry chemicals, lawn fertilizers, dirt and more into our streams and rivers.
With the advent of Earth Day, each year more everyday residents begin to think about their habits and how they can reduce their environmental footprint. Consumers have turned to eco-friendly products to include household products to the very cars they drive. Manufacturers across the globe are working on and perfecting electric cars. Green technologies are emerging everywhere, to include waste and recycled materials, vertical gardens and farms, and of course solar and wind energy. With that we are learning more about green mortgages, green loans and green scams.
According to an article in Forbes Advisor, homes are responsible for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Those emissions can be traced directly to fossil fuels. Yet, by installing energy- and water-saving features to our homes, we can save money and the environment. In response to the desire to make the environmentally friendly residential changes, we have seen the emergence of banking products intended to help homeowners reach their goals.
You can get energy-efficient mortgages (EEM) or green mortgages as they are often called to help you make eco-friendly home improvements. You can also acquire loan products to help you upgrade an existing home with water- and energy-saving features, or to buy a new home that already has these options.
The challenge is that many of these products are for homeowners and individuals who are in good shape credit wise. Whether its green mortgages, or loans, there will certainly have to be work done to bring renters and homeowners who may not have a perfect credit score to the table. Like so many innovations, it becomes a situation of the haves and the have nots. Disparities along economic lines show up in environmental safety and access. There have even been predatory lending scams that have hurt the very residents who need these environmental improvements the most. So, as we celebrate Earth Day, we must remember that we have to create technology and advancements that are both inclusive and accessible to everyone.