Green Deal - DECC release new series of papers

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today published a series of papers setting out how they expect the proposed ‘Green Deal’ to work. The ‘Green Deal’ is the Coalition Government’s flagship policy for improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Great Britain and, according to Greg Barker, the minister of state for climate change, will be “the most ambitious energy-saving programme anywhere since the Second World War.”

The broad principles of Green Deal are that Green Deal Assessors will draw from a pool of eligible measures to make property specific recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency. Measures will have to be ‘fixed’ to the property and not removable when occupiers leave and will include both traditional energy efficiency measures and micro generation technologies, such as solar PV, ground and air source heat pumps etc.

Once a measure (or bundle of measures) has been identified the Green Deal Assessor will make a recommendation both on which measures should be installed and which may be suitable for the Green Deal finance package. This in turn will be based on the likelihood of “pay–back” (possibly with subsidy) based on the installation cost and possible savings of that measure. Green Deal loans will be available from Consumer Credit Act regulated companies and repayments will theoretically be offset for consumers by savings on energy bills with the debts attached to the property rather than the individual who took out the loan.

The proposed domestic Green Deal assessment will be based on an improved EPC methodology. In the paper “Consumer Protection in the Green Deal” DECC makes it clear that consumer and business confidence is key to the success of Green Deal and all Green Deal providers, assessors and installers will be regulated – in the case of the latter via a Green Deal accreditation certification body independently accredited by UKAS (The United Kingdom Accreditation Service is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services).

Welcoming the news from DECC, Brian Scannell, Managing Director of National Energy Services Ltd said “EPCs generally have been regarded as an important trigger for consumers to implement energy efficiency measures, but so far everything indicates that this opportunity has been missed. We therefore welcome the proposals for a more property specific EPC report supported by a stronger training, accreditation and enforcement regime and welcome the appointment of UKAS and the news that there will be a robust route for complaints”.

The legal framework is currently progressing through Parliament under the Energy Bill and will be discussed at Committee stage in the House of Commons next week but will be subject to later secondary legislation.