SEOUL, KOREA- Homeowners will soon be allowed to pay home renovation costs for years in installments from subsequent energy savings. This is intended to encourage "green remodeling" by reducing the cost burden for the owners. Given 74 percent of homes in Korea are older than 15 years, the latest measure is expected to relieve the energy shortage problem faced by the nation every year in the summer and winter seasons, especially after stoppages of nuclear power plants and delays in new thermal power plant construction.
In order to prevent the recurring energy shortages and at the same time create new construction and maintenance jobs, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation proposed on July 24 in a meeting of economic ministers a plan to save energy in residential and commercial buildings.
Currently it is hard for homeowners and building owners to invest a large sum of money on their own in replacing with double-pane windows and high-efficiency building insulation materials without any government help. In addition to encouraging the owners to pay the cost in monthly installments, the government agency will lend support in interest costs depending on the building's energy efficiency rating.
In case where a house adopts double-pane windows instead of conventional single-pane ones, it is estimated the owner can save up to 30 percent of heating and air-conditioning cost. In a 38-square-meter apartment house, a renovation work costing 1.8 million won to replace old windows can save 290,000 won a year in energy cost. That means the homeowner can make a full payment of the cost in seven years if she borrows the money at a 3-percent interest rate.
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