经济学人:能源效率融资 钱不是万能的
日期:2014-05-08 16:14



Financing energy efficiency
Money for nothing
Green loans are proving less popular among homeowners than expected
RETROFITTING houses to use less energy should be a no-brainer for homeowners. Over time, money spent on ways to reduce heat loss from draughty houses should produce a handsome return in lower fuel bills. In practice, many are cautious. Some improvements, such as solid-wall insulation and solar panels, can take over 25 years to cover their initial cost. Few owners are willing to wait that long: by then many are likely to have sold up and moved on.

Several governments have started finance schemes designed to address this problem. Since 2008 PACE programmes have offered American homeowners loans to finance improvements, repaid through higher local taxes on the property, whoever it belongs to. In Britain, the Green Deal offers loans over a 25-year period, with repayments added to energy bills. Countries including France and Canada have similar initiatives.
In theory, these schemes should boost investment in common energy-saving measures, such as extra insulation and new boilers, as the first owner does not have to pay all the costs upfront. But enrolment rates have disappointed, according to Sean Kidney at the Climate Bonds Initiative, a think-tank. In Britain, just 1% of those assessed for the Green Deal have signed up. In Berkeley, California, home of the first PACE scheme, the take-up rate is similarly paltry.
Homeowners are unimpressed chiefly because the interest rates on the loans look high. The Green Deal charges 7%; some PACE schemes a hefty 8%. As these rates are fixed for decades, they will inevitably look unattractive when short-term interest rates are low.
Many people also doubt they will save enough on their energy bills to cover the repayments. For instance, claims in Britain that installing loft insulation can cut energy bills by 20% have been dented by a government study that found it reduced gas consumption by only 1.7% on average. Others fear that green loans may reduce the value of their home. In America, firms that underwrite mortgages are hostile to PACE loans.
Green loans have not been a flop everywhere. Around 250,000 households in Germany sign up for them each year. They do so because they need pay only 1% interest on them each year, thanks to an annual public subsidy of 1.5 billion. Whether that is an efficient use of taxpayers’ money is another question.

1.likely to 可能

Because of this, marijuana companies are likely to continue to struggle to find banks.

Other export-oriented economies are also likely to get hit hard by another recession.

2.design to 用于设计

Need to print your design to go meet your client?

We can use design to make a website unique and more memorable.

3.belong to 隶属于

Kashmir cannot belong to both india and pakistan.

Those who belong to christ don't live in fear of condemnation.

4.add to 增加,加强

If not, then any gains would be temporary and just add to the debt load.

Initially, at least, it won't add to the country's vast debts.

  • initiativeadj. 创始的,初步的,自发的 n. 第一步,首创精神
  • condemnationn. 谴责,非难,定罪, 非难或定罪的理由
  • willingadj. 愿意的,心甘情愿的
  • cautiousadj. 十分小心的,谨慎的
  • initiallyadv. 最初,开头
  • boostvt. 推进,提高,增加 n. 推进,增加 v.
  • uniqueadj. 独一无二的,独特的,稀罕的
  • temporaryadj. 暂时的,临时的 n. 临时工
  • underwritevt. 写在 ... 下面,认购,保险 vi. 从事保险
  • disappointedadj. 失望的