Monday, October 20, 2008

Going Green on Renovations

Majority of Ontarians willing to spend more on a home with environmentally friendly features to save money in the future, according to TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll

TORONTO, Sep. 29, 2008 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- TD | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- While we're not seeing solar panels and windmills on front lawns yet, the majority of Canadians are environmentally conscious when purchasing a new home or renovating their home, according to the second annual TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll. The biggest incentive for those Ontarians willing to spend more on environmentally friendly features is the potential saving on future energy bills (64%).
"Despite a slowing economy, two-thirds of Canadians are willing to pay more for a home that includes greener features," says Joan Dal Bianco, Vice President, Real Estate Secured Lending, TD Canada Trust. "This number is down only slightly from 2007, which shows that even when times are a bit tougher, the environment is still important to Canadians."

Fifty-nine per cent of Ontarians (57% of Canadians) are willing to spend 5 to 10% more on a home that includes environmentally friendly features. Although improving the state of the environment is an important factor, Ontarians say that what matters most when renovating a home is saving money in the future (44%), followed by the resale value of their home (30%).

"With the average Ontario home price at nearly 300,000, the fact that some Canadians are willing to spend 5 to 10% more on a home with green features is an indication that people are committed to environmental responsibility, especially energy savings down the road," says Dal Bianco.

Almost all Canadians are making their current homes more environmentally friendly. In fact, 93% of Ontarians have made improvements or will be making improvements in the next 12 months. The top improvement to making their home greener is replacing regular light bulbs with CFL light bulbs (76%), followed by applying weather-stripping and caulking to stop drafts (57%) and replacing, kitchen appliances with more energy-efficient models (53%). Eighty-two per cent of Ontarians have made or plan to make three or more improvements this year (77% nationally). Older Canadians (55 plus) are taking the most action when it comes to environmentally friendly home improvements.

Not surprisingly, environmental friendliness in and out of the home is key for the majority of Canadians. Results from the first TD Friends of the Environment Foundation 'How Green Are You?' Survey, conducted in May 2008, also revealed that Canadians take their environmental commitment seriously. According to the poll, 93% of Ontarians report that they recycle, with 49% of respondents stating that they recycle everything and 44% recycling when convenient. Overall, the 'How Green Are You?' Survey found that when it comes to being environmentally responsible, 98% of Ontarians give themselves a passing grade (compared to 96% nationally). When asked to grade their environmental friendliness, 27% gave themselves an "A" and 55% gave themselves a "B." Only 1% gave themselves an "F" and said that they did not really care about the environment.

The TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll found that nearly all Canadians feel that the government should create initiatives to make residential construction greener. In fact, 94% of Ontarians agree with environmentally friendly change being brought into building codes for new buildings and 83% agree with building code changes for renovations. Canadians are less likely to agree with government initiatives if they directly have to pay for them. Sixty-nine per cent of Ontarians disagree with a carbon tax for "non-green" homes.

Two-thirds of Ontarians (67%) would consider an environmental assessment prior to finalizing their renovation plans. Of those willing to consider an environmental assessment, 51% would pay under $400 for the assessment while one-third would like the assessment to be free.

Many banks offer incentives for homeowners either purchasing a home or renovating a home. TD Canada Trust has two Green Home products for those who are planning to purchase a home or leverage the equity in their existing home. Both the TD Canada Trust Green Mortgage and the TD Canada Trust Green Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) offer a lower interest rate and rebates on certain purchases, while giving back to the environment. The cost of a residential energy efficient assessment is eligible for a rebate.

About the TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll

The TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll surveyed adult Canadians from across the country, to explore the relationship between the environment and home purchase or home renovations. The survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies on July 31, 2008 with English and French speaking Canadians 18+, using the Angus Reid Custom Express. The sample size includes 1,000 men and women.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the seventh largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 17 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking through TD Banknorth and Commerce Bank (to be known together as TD Bank); and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading on-line financial services firms, with more than 5.5 million on-line customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$509 billion in assets as of July 31, 2008. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges under the symbol "TD", as well as on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
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SOURCE: TD Canada Trust

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