The Green Deal home insulation scheme is a first of its kind; a massive national home improvement programme that aims to encourage households (and businesses) to improve the energy efficiency of their poorly insulated and heated homes and workplaces.
By upgrading the country’s ageing housing stock en masse the Government is attempting to tackle the growing issue of fuel poverty head on and sees energy efficiency key to reigning in the problem before it escalates even more out of hand. Energy bills aside, the Green Deal will also help the Government address its carbon emissions reduction targets.
Although it’s still relatively early days for the Government’s flagship scheme, it’s common for these kind of initiatives to be clouded in confusion. But it’s only a matter of time for the Green Deal to find its feet. From the first mentions of the scheme back in 2010 it’s launch in January 2013, Green Deal Guide attempts to address the most frequently asked questions.
What is the Green Deal
It’s a scheme introduced by the Government to encourage home owners, landlords and businesses to make their properties more energy efficient by implementing a range of measures at no upfront cost.
When does it start
The programme had a soft launch on 1 October 2012. But it was a very low key affair. The Green Deal received its ‘proper’ launch on 28 January 2013.
Do I qualify
Yes, the Green Deal is open to anyone. There’s no restrictions or boxes to tick. Basically if you’re interested then you’re eligible to take part.
Is it compulsory
No, the Government scheme is completely voluntary. There’s no pressure on anyone to take part if they don’t want to.
Why should I get involved
We could bang on about lowering your carbon footprint but we won’t. While reducing carbon emissions is part of the whole Green Deal agenda, you’re probably going to be more interested in what the Green Deal can do in terms of transforming your home from a poorly heated and insulated abode into a warm and cosy castle fit for a King (or Queen) and one that doesn’t leak energy or cost a bomb to heat. So if you want to save money by saving energy then the Green Deal is going to be right up your street.
Sounds good but how much is all this going to cost
The great thing about the Green Deal is that you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket to pay for any of the work upfront. Although certain measures may require some part-payment up front (like solar PV for example) the biggest selling point for the Green Deal is that work will be carried out for free initially, which you pay off through a charge on your energy bills. The money used initially to pay for the measures is taken from the Green Deal Finance Company; a private consortium which was established to support the uptake of energy efficient home improvements.
What sort of work can I get done under the scheme
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has put together a list of more than forty energy efficiency measures which can be implemented as part of the Green Deal. Products which a) keep heat in b) heat your home and c) generate your own energy make up the list. Approved Green Deal measures include cavity wall insulation, double glazing, loft insulation, solar PV panels, condensing boilers, solid wall insulation, draught proofing and heat pumps.
What’s this I hear about a ‘Golden Rule’
The whole of the Green Deal is built around it. Basically it means savings made on your energy bills through carrying out the measures must overcome the installation cost. After your initial Green Deal assessment a Green Deal provider will make you a finance offer which is based on estimated savings from having their recommended measures installed. The bottom line of the ‘Golden Rule’ is that estimated savings which will be made over the lifetime of the Green Deal Plan must be more that what it’s going to cost you to repay whatever work you have done.
How does the repayment scheme work
Savings achieved on energy bills over the lifespan of an installed product will be used to pay back the loan.
Who collects the Green Deal charge
Your energy provider is responsible for collecting the Green Deal charge. instalments collected through the respective energy bill. Payments will be made in instalments which are collected through your energy bill.
What protection will consumers have
The Government is committed to ensuring Green Deal customers have the highest level of protection and confidence in the scheme. Aside from the ‘Golden Rule’ there will be a cold calling protection in place, with a 24 hour cooling off period which must be adhered to. In addition, customers cannot be cross-sold other products by Green Deal assessors unless they give their permission and assessors must also be very clear to inform a customer if they are tied to a Green Deal provider and when switching from impartial advisor to salesperson. Last but by no means least providers must offer minimum periods of mandatory cover; specifically 25 years for cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation, 10 years for building damage cover and 5 years for warranties.
Will there be a cap on the level of finance available
No, although the amount will be limited by the ‘Golden Rule’.
What will happen if I move
If you are planning to move you must be upfront about any Green Deal loans that you have taken out to install energy efficient home improvements on your property. This is because the loans remain tied to the property, so it will be the responsibility of the new owner to take over any Green Deal repayments and it will remain so until the debt, which is linked to the electricity account, is paid off.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on 4 July 2014