UK: Green Deal goes live

The UK Government’s pay-as-you-save scheme, the Green Deal, has gone live, offering domestic households access to energy saving home improvements without any upfront costs for the first time.

With buildings in Britain among the least efficient in the world, officials hope that the Green Deal will prompt a wave of energy saving improvements, such as insulation and new heating systems, across the UK’s ageing housing stock, boosting the low-carbon industries and helping the UK meet its carbon reduction targets.

Under the scheme, householders now have access to 45 different types of improvements, including renewables installations, which will be paid for via savings in the householder’s energy bills, as well as a “cashback” scheme that will see householders rewarded for having work done on their properties.

The government promised that the Green Deal, which it has repeatedly delayed for householders, is here to stay, and will benefit the UK’s low-carbon industries.

“The UK green sector is a success story – it is the sixth largest in the world and has a crucial part to play in building a strong economy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. “The Green Deal will support thousands of jobs – not just over the next few years, but in the long-term.”

The government wheeled out a host of businesses to welcome the arrival of the Green Deal, including heating and boiler company Worcester Bosch Group, which said that consumers have been “crying out” for a sensible solution on energy efficiency.

“Certainly for the heating industry, the Green Deal has become the ‘main show in town’ and this is now a massive opportunity for us to make it a success,” said Neil Schofield, head of external and governmental affairs at Worcester Bosch Group.

Meanwhile, Simon Roberts, chief executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy offered a cautious welcome, saying: “The Green Deal will succeed where people understand it and feel like it’s something for people like them in homes like theirs.”

However, not all businesses were thrilled with the proposal – which faced accusations of being watered down. Home energy installer Engensa slammed the Green Deal as “needlessly bureaucratic and fundamentally flawed”, as well as inconsistent and likely to fail. Specifically, the company warned that the long payments terms of 25 years, and its interest rate of 9.25% would put consumers off.

Toby Darbyshire, founder and CEO of Engensa said: “It is hard for those in Whitehall to really get a grip of what the individual consumer wants from home energy and how they buy – particularly with the prospect of a triple dip recession around the corner. Engensa deals with 1,000 enquiries per week and we know what people want: simplicity, flexibility and low cost. The Green Deal delivers none of these.”

In addition, there are concerns over the number of assessors needed, when many are being squeezed out of business because they can’t earn a living.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Geothermal  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling