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Steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home

Creating an energy-efficient home is a win-win: it's better for the planet and can save you money.

India's energy consumption has almost doubled since 2000. Demand for electricity is projected to grow around 5% per year to 2040[@ecbc-residential], with equally steep prices to match.

By understanding how energy efficient your home is, you'll be able to make the changes that can save you money.

The perks of an energy-efficient home

An energy-efficient home is one that conserves energy, manages household waste, and reduces energy consumption.

Making your home more energy efficient can:

  • save you money on your energy bills
  • lower your carbon footprint
  • help with cooling and heating functions
  • improve air quality
  • reduce water loss
  • increase its resale value

The owner of a "green" property may also get financial incentives, such as reductions in property tax and stamp duty, discounted permit fees, and competitive refinancing offers.[@government-incentives]

Is your home energy efficient?

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Green Homes® rating programme scores various "green features" of residential homes. These include water conservation, energy efficiency, and innovation.  Buildings are then awarded certification based on the credits earned.

Some central and state government agencies provide incentives for IGBC-rated green homes and buildings. IGBC provides a checklist on its site for green homes and recommendations on how you can improve your home's rating.

The IGBC estimates energy-efficient homes will see energy savings of 20-30% and water savings of up to 50%.[@igbc]

How you can make your house more energy efficient

There are many ways you can save energy - from using shades to cool your house to turning off your gadgets when they're not in use. But as well as changing your habits, you can also make changes to your home to make it more energy efficient.

Look for BEE star labels when buying appliances

From refrigerators and TVs to washing machines, more and more household products are becoming energy efficient. According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), using such products can be a great way to save money on your energy bills. 

Bee Star Labelling helps consumers easily shift to more energy-efficient appliances. The more stars on the label, the higher the energy savings. BEE even has a mobile app so you can compare products, cost savings and star ratings on the go.

Be smart about heating and cooling your house

For anyone living in a hot and humid climate, air conditioners create a comfortable indoor living environment. But when temperatures soar (or drop), these appliances can be costly to run. 


Heat can be lost through the walls and roof, as well as windows, doors and the floor, contributing to higher energy bills.  

You can reduce this heat loss by:

  • draft-proofing any unwanted gaps
  • double or triple glazing your windows
  • insulating hot water tanks and pipes

The less heat you lose, the less it will cost to keep your home nice and warm.


Many things can impact the energy efficiency of your air conditioners (ACs). These include:

  • the size of the room
  • dark furnishing and walls, which absorb heat
  • the number of people and other objects in the room
  • the AC's temperature setting

Keep the unit clean and turn it off when you're not in the room. When you need to, consider replacing your old AC with a split inverter type with a high-star label - old appliances consume more electricity and tend to cost more to run.

Switch to a renewable energy source

Renewable energy is generated from sources such as the sun, wind or water and reduces our reliance on fossil fuels. As well as choosing a renewable energy supplier, you could generate your own power by installing things like:

  • solar panels to generate electricity or provide hot water
  • heat pumps that use naturally occurring heat in the air or ground to create power and heat or cool your home

If you generate your own renewable energy, you could also benefit from:

  • government subsidies to offset the installation and running costs of renewable heating systems
  • selling surplus energy that you make back to the grid
  • a reduction in your electricity bill

You can set up a rooftop solar system even if you're renting, as long as you have permission from the owner to install it.

5 ways to finance energy-saving improvements

Government rooftop solar scheme

Both central and state governments in India offer financial incentives for the installation of rooftop solar panels. You can apply via the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy's National Portal for Solar Rooftop scheme. Through this, you can receive subsidies of up to 40% of the cost of installation or tendered rates (whichever is lower) for capacity up to 3 kWp.

Use the Solar Rooftop Calculator to see what it would cost to install a system at home and how much electricity it would generate. It will even tell you how many tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and the equivalent in teak trees over a lifetime that you'll save by using solar!

SUNREF Affordable Green Housing programme

The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) India Housing Programme offers affordable "green" financing. Loans are provided at competitive rates for housing projects that have received GRIHA or IGBC Green Home certification.


If you have cash available, it can be a good option to fund home improvements, especially smaller projects, such as installing energy-efficient appliances. This way, you can avoid paying possible interest that may come with borrowing. However, it's important to consider whether there are any charges for withdrawing your savings and whether you'll have enough money left over for an emergency fund

Loan against your home

You may be able to raise funds easily against your residential property to release some equity. This can help fund home improvements, like making your home more energy efficient, and hopefully increase its value.

With an HSBC Loan Against Property, there's no prepayment fee after 6 months if you're on a floating loan rate.  

You'll need to think carefully about securing a loan against your home. It can be repossessed if you're unable to keep up with the repayments. Calculate what your equated monthly installments could be based on the term and interest rate.

Unsecured personal loan

A personal loan allows you to spread the cost of your home improvement project, over a set period of up to 5 years, without increasing your mortgage. Your payments will be affected by the interest rate and loan tenure, amongst other factors. Personal loans are not fixed to an asset used as collateral, such as your home or your car, like a secured loan.

Personal loans are advertised with a representative Annual Percentage Rate (APR). An APR includes all applicable interest rates, fees and charges, expressed as an annualised rate.

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