Green Investment Bank’s latest LED street lighting deal highlights how green loans should become a ‘no-brainer’ for councils and businesses. The GIB’s latest announcement it is to provide a Green Loan to Stirling Council to fund the installation of 12,000 LED lamps and 4,000 lampposts as part of a major street lighting upgrade is the third of its type, and certainly won’t be its last. The benefits from the deal are compelling. Stirling Council will borrow £9.87m over four financial years to fund the upgrades. Repayments are then spread over a lengthy period of up to 30 years at a relatively low fixed interest rate, which means the energy bill savings exceed the repayments. Consequently, the council can expect to save £31m over 30 years while also cutting carbon emissions by 63 per cent. The soon to be privatised GIB, meanwhile, gets a stable and extremely low risk return from a public sector customer. There are currently seven million streetlights in the UK, fewer than one million of which use proven LED technology. Councils face a £300m a year lighting bill, an overhead so high some cash-strapped authorities have taken to turning lights off to save money. In this context, green finance packages that deliver all but guaranteed energy bill and carbon savings are such a no-brainer local authorities really should be deploying them faster than you can say ‘controversial council tax hike’. What is now needed, as it was eight years ago, is for the banking sector to flick the switch and make green finance a truly mainstream concern.