The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - fantastic value for the householder, but what are the longer term implications?

13/Jun/2014
Blog Author: 
Austin Baggett and Mike Tofts

At first glance, the Government’s recently announced Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) is a real and much needed boost to the home energy efficiency market. For a householder it offers a real incentive to make some energy efficiency improvements.  It includes £1000 towards a pair of energy efficiency measures from a list of twelve that includes condensing boilers, cavity wall insulation and flat roof insulation.  The real draw though is up to £6000 towards solid wall insulation (SWI).  Given the fact that a typical 3 bed semi might only cost £8000 to insulate, this means that for just £2000 you can get all the long term comfort, aesthetic and energy saving benefits. Additionally, an extra £500 is available to homebuyers who have bought a home in the last 12 months prior to application. For more information, visit DECC's press release here.

However from an industry perspective there are some worrying issues.

Firstly, unlike the previous funding scheme – Green Deal cash back – there is no longer an absolute requirement to have a Green Deal Assessment Report (GDAR).  Instead, householders can opt for the more basic EPC (both qualify the householder if up to 24 months old).  Householders will no longer receive advice in the home and will not necessarily be given the correct advice for their particular situation.  The householder can get a refund up to £100 for the GDAR (there is no refund for the EPC), and this incentive is to be applauded.  However, the refund is only given once the measures have been installed.  So we have a challenge on our hands to convey the added benefits of the GDAR to householders.

Secondly, there is no requirement to involve a Green Deal Provider.  Instead, a Green Deal Installer (GDI) can deal directly with the householder.  On the positive side this creates a more bottom up approach to selling energy efficiency improvements.  GDIs will hopefully be motivated to go and shout from the rooftops and get more householders interested.  However, who is going to look after the householder in a more holistic way, ensuring that they are aware of green deal financing either now or in the future?

The GDHIF is a welcome scheme, particularly to stimulate the SWI industry in a time of ECO uncertainty.  But its funding (£120m in this financial year) is tiny given the number of homes in the UK that need improvement.  The fact remains that the only way of financing long term and extensive energy efficiency measures is through some form of ‘pay as you save’ scheme – such as green deal financing.  To bypass the GDAR and the Green Deal Provider for the GDHIF might prove to be short sighted if we are to achieve our goal in making the true Green Deal, with Green Deal financing, work.

Comments

 

Being part of this Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is a very good step. You can increase the value of your home while giving a help n saving the environment. As much as possible, hope we can go green with our energy.

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