If you’re going through a home interior design and renovation for the very first time, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by all of the preliminary steps. Choosing the right interior design team, working on the concept, buying materials and overseeing the execution can all be overwhelming for someone lacking experience.
What does it take to select the best interior design company for your home interior design project in Singapore without wasting time and money?
The answer is fairly simple. A couple of considerations carry a lot more weight than other factors you may consider. Focusing on these essentials will help you narrow down the choices quickly and efficiently.
How interested are you in greener, more sustainable living? Changing your home in an environmentally-friendly way can give you more comfort and better savings when it comes to utilities. This is why considering the switch makes sense both financially and in terms of lifestyle.
Going for an eco home improvement right now can also help you qualify for a really favourable loan. The product, first of its kind in Singapore, got announced recently and is expected to provide a new stimulus for home upgrades.
Greener Home = Better Loan Conditions
On the last day of March 2021, OCBC announced a new home and renovation loan that incentivises the introduction of environmentally-friendly home improvements.
This is the first loan of its kind in Singapore and the product is characterised by low interest rates. There are currently two choices – an Eco-Care home loan and an Eco-Care green renovation loan. The home loan is the cheapest one in Singapore right now, offering an interest rate difference of 0.2 per cent in comparison to the Sibor-pegged rate of 1.4 per cent.
Those who qualify for the Eco-Care home and renovation loans will also be eligible for Sunseap Energy solar installation plans that offer a single $80 bill rebate.
Qualifying for the New Eco-Friendly Home Loan
Needless to say, a home will have to meet various strict requirements for its owners to qualify for the new OCBC loan.
There are three primary areas of examination, as far as green home improvements go. These include home design, the installation of energy-efficient appliances and the introduction of smart home features aimed at the conservation of resources (like motion-controlled lights, for example).
Home owners have to pass THEEA in order to get the loans. This is an online tool that assesses the energy consumption of a home on the basis of characteristics that the owner inputs. Depending on the data that’s fed into THEEA, a pass or fail rating will be provided.
The test is available on the OCBC loan application page, giving home owners a good idea about the changes they’ll need to introduce in order to qualify for affordable bank funding.
Ongoing Financial Incentives Also Available
The low interest rate isn’t the only stimulus that OCBC is relying on to promote the new loans and encourage at-home sustainability.
After they have moved into the new home, residents can take the THEEA test once again. To receive ongoing rewards, home owners need to achieve energy consumption below the national median for the respective flat size.
Those who meet the goal will receive reward points called OCBC$. The points that the family has collected can then be exchanged for an array of rewards. These will be provided via the STACK marketplace – the OCBC loyalty platform that introduced the new range of Eco-Care rewards early on in March 2021.
As already mentioned, three primary areas can contribute to the low energy consumption required for loan qualification.
The good news is that so many projects can be carried out to reduce the usage of resources and bring down a home’s carbon footprint.
Something as simple as going for energy-efficient appliances can have a profound effect.
A three-tick air conditioner consumes electricity worth 930 dollars per year. In comparison, a five-tick air conditioner consumes energy worth 650 dollars. The calculation is similar for other categories of energy efficient appliances.
While these have a higher upfront cost, the savings produced are significant. Experts have calculated that the difference in purchasing price can be covered via the savings produced over the course of the first two years of use. After that, the appliance will help the household save money by bringing down the electricity bill.
Further savings can be encouraged through smart interior design improvements.
Smart and green home design can have so many characteristics. Good insulation, air sealing, energy-efficient and smart light systems, green water heating, green space heating and the right window treatments can all work together to reduce energy consumption even further.
Reducing energy bills through smart interior design is also possible through the selection of the right colours, by choosing a high quality flooring material and even by selecting suitable furniture and knowing where to place such pieces.
Many Improvements to Consider
As you can see, you can explore a wide array of strategic changes. These renovation goals will depend on your current budget, the specific resource conservation goal you have in mind and the characteristics of the property itself.
A reliable, experienced home interior design partner who are also at the same time a home renovation contractor can help you make the choices that will have the biggest impact. Obviously, this is the goal if you want to qualify for affordable financing and if you want to save significant amounts in the long run.
Home Guide has the know-how and the practical knowledge to bring such a vision to reality. We’ve helped numerous Singaporean flat owners modernise their living space and embrace the latest green living trends.
Contact us now to schedule your first consultation and commence the journey towards self-sufficient, greener living. We offer clients a wide range of home improvement packages that can make such renovations much more affordable.