Also part of the 2004 policy framework package, the green social loan (prêt vert social) is a zero-interest loan provided to individuals who wish to isolate their homes, thereby reducing energy consumption in line with the passive standard criteria. CREDAL, a credit cooperative based in Brussels, provides the funds, while Brussels Environment acts as an intermediary.
The loans are specifically targeted to low-income families, for whom the burden of increased renovation costs is the heaviest. For low-income families, house renovations to improve energy efficiency are not an attractive investment, because the initial costs are high, and the benefits (in the form of a lower energy bill) are slow to come. In this context, the green social loan aims to offset some of the initial insulation costs. Both homeowners and leaseholders can apply for loans in the range of 500 € to 20,000 €.
Green loans are granted for two types of house renovations:
1) Insulation: roof, exterior walls, sun, super-isolating windows, and controlled mechanical ventilation;
2) Effective heating: gas-condensing boilers, gas instantaneous water heaters, and thermal regulation devices (thermostatic valves, room thermostats).
The specific conditions to apply for a green loan are as follows:
1) To possess a net monthly income of 1.088 € for individual candidates / 1.484 € for couples; or brute annual income of 30.000 € for individual candidates / 60.000 € for couples;
2) To accept the granting conditions of Brussels Environment;
3) To repay the loan within the following periods, depending on the amount of the loan :
- 500 € - 18 months
- From 501 € to 2.500 € - 24 months
- From 2.501 € to 3.700 € - 30 months
- From 3.701 € to 5.600 € - 36 months
- From 5.601 € to 7.500 € - 42 months
- From 7.501 € to 10.000 € - 48 months
As an instrument especially tailored to ensure buy-in from the most vulnerable social group, the green social loan is an integral element of the Brussels success model.