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Yorkshire Dales building society offers low mortgages to cut greenhouse gases

[Friday 29 September 2006]

A SMALL but pioneering Yorkshire Dales building society is offering house buyers a mortgage discount if they agree to install energy saving measures which will cut greenhouse gas emissions.

ecology building society
The Ecology's new HQ at Silsden: offering incentives to cut

This is just one of the near-revolutionary lending schemes devised by the Ecology Building Society, which is celebrating its 25 years in business despite the fact that, when it was founded by ten friends, rivals dubbed it the "hippy" building society and predicted that it would go out of business within a few months.

The Ecology, founded over a florists shop on Cross Hills High Street in Airedale, was formed when ten friends each put in £500 each to create a society which would fund housing or "green" business start-ups that other financial institutions would not back.

In the early days, it lent money to "do-it-yourself" couples who were prepared to refurbish badly neglected properties that other building societies would not touch with a barge pole. As a result, there are now hundreds of middle aged couples owning desirable houses worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Ecology still backs unconventional projects - one of the latest involved turning a Victorian water tower into a luxury home - and from October, it will lend money to people wishing to install greenhouse-gas reducing measures at 1% less than its standard rate.

The society, now based in a custom-built HQ at Silsden, near Skipton, is calling its new deal the C-Change plan - and is expecting to announce other C-Change benefits in the near future.

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