UK government’s Green Deal officially gets off the ground

Posted at October 2, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK government’s Green Deal officially gets off the ground

The UK government’s flagship Green Deal scheme to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes officially launched yesterday.

As of October 1st, householders can register to have their properties assessed for potential energy efficiency improvements covered by the Green Deal.

In theory, the scheme will enable homeowners to install insulation and renewable energy systems with upfront costs covered by loans repaid via energy bills. Under the ‘Golden Rule’, the savings made through the energy efficiency measures should offset the costs over the lifetime of the loan.

But the scheme, which will start making financial packages available to participants early next year, appears to have got started with a whimper rather than a bang.

According to media reports, no major retailers have signed up to deliver the scheme as the government was hoping and there still seem to be raft of uncertainties and unanswered questions.

Director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, Andrew Warren, is quoted as being “very alarmed” at the delays setting up the scheme but added that the possibility of using council tax deductions as an incentive could turn it around.

The government has hinted at an incentive programme to drive sign-ups to the scheme, but has not as yet released any details.

In the meantime, communities in Oxfordshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands could benefit from an alternative scheme launched by the Ecology Building Society and The Energy Saving Co-operative.

The partners are starting a pilot scheme, ‘Fair Green Deal’, to bring together homeowners, communities and small businesses with energy saving expertise and sources of ‘fair’ finance.

Homeowners and communities signing up to the scheme receive free advice on energy saving measures, which are installed by local tradespeople. A co-operative buying system also promises good prices, say the organisers.

“The Fair Green Deal does what the government’s Green Deal should do – put power in the hands of homeowners, communities and small businesses, to help them capture the benefits from energy savings rather than hand these over to the financial markets and the ‘Big Six’ energy supply companies,” says chief executive of The Energy Saving Co-operative, Ewan Jones.

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Related stories:
Seven cities in England to share £12 million to kick start Green Deal (21-Sept)
UK government earmarks £7 million for Green Deal loans (10-Aug)
UK government appoints Green Deal overseers (15-Jun)
UK government lays out the next steps for the Green Deal (12-Jun)

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