The Energy Act (2011) determines two policy initiative relevant to my research; the Smart Meter rollout and Green Deal. I discussed the Smart Meter rollout in my previous post, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about the Green Deal. It is mainly aimed at reducing the heat consumption of our homes through improving insulation but a range of improvements are applicable.
The fundamental principle of the Green Deal is that the payment for energy efficiency improvement is made wholly or by instalment once the measure has been implemented. This is meant to remove the barrier of the upfront cost previously associated to making such improvements to a property. Yet in this week’s Guardian this barrier apparently still exists through charging people for the initial assessments (ranging from £95-150).
In order to be eligible for a Green Deal plan, the property and the improvements must qualify by meeting certain conditions. The big differences are the loan being linked to the property and not the person, how this will effect property prices or saleability is currently unclear. To qualify measures must be:
- Improvements to the efficiency of use of electricity, gas or other energy source
- Measures which increase electricity or heat generated using micro-generation or low emissions sources and
- Measures which reduce the consumption of such energy
The payment for the measure is then made to the energy supplier over time by the occupant through the energy bills, which include the energy savings associated with the improvement. This has to satisfy the Golden Rule, that “estimated savings on energy bills should always equal or exceed the cost of the work.” A range of guides have been produced by DECC which are visually engaging yet the concept is still rather difficult to get your head around, even if you are already an engaged consumer.
Originally the Green Deal was described as a market driven approach but the Coalition have had to invest significant amounts to try to kickstart one of its flagship policies. They are even offering cashback offers for early adopters of the Green Deal. Whether this is due to a lack of consumer engagement or the financial situation it is not clear, but is it concerning.
A further concern is the ability of the supply chain to be able to achieve the necessary volumes of installations. While the Green Deal could create jobs in recognised assessors and installers, training requires investment and after the Home Information Pack fiasco many would be assessors may have been burnt.
The next few months will be pivotal in the success or failure of the Green Deal with the financing starting on the 28th January. I’ll also be keeping an eye on Homely who are looking for case studies of people who aim to take advantage of the Green Deal. Perhaps I could even have our flat assessed, the cashback is tempting. I wonder if I could still be first, I’ll let you know how I get on.