The UK government claims it is making strides in its flagship Green Deal scheme but a survey reveals that 96% of the British public have not heard of the home energy initiative or do not understand it.
The scheme was ‘soft’ launched this autumn, but will become fully operational until January 28, 2013 when the first financing deals will be offered.
Ahead of that date, the government has confirmed that is will be rolling out a £2.9 million advertising campaign to drum up interest in the scheme.
“We are making excellent progress on the Green Deal,” says Energy Minister Greg Barker. “We now have funds for a communications campaign that will build further understanding of the Green Deal, helping to create a real buzz.”
But the buzz is still pretty quiet, with a survey of 2000 adults by One Poll for electrical supplies company Rexel UK revealing that 61% had never heard of the scheme, 35% don’t understand it and only 17% of employers realising that businesses can also participate.
According to Brian Smithers, director of Rexel UK, no assessments have yet been carried out under the Green Deal and only 12 providers have signed up to the scheme.
“For the Green Deal to truly deliver, it’s crucial that the industry doesn’t leave the ball in the government’s court,” he says. “We need to work together to educate business owners and consumers about the benefits of energy-saving measures, and the role the Green Deal can play in making these available at no upfront cost.”
If the message does get out, there is a market ready and waiting. Three-quarters of those polled said they were concerned about rising energy bills and nearly 70% would be interested in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes, with insulation, heating and lighting controls the most popular options.
But while the Green Deal promises to offer low-cost loans with no upfront costs, the public remain sceptical that it will cost them more in the long-term and may not save them money.
Barker, however, remains adamant that Green Deal is on course and will prove appealing to homeowners.
“When you add our fantastic cash back into the mix, it’s clear that the Green Deal is building momentum and will be a brilliant offer for people,” he says.
In a bid to further convince householders of the benefits of the scheme, the government has also announced plans for a national ‘open homes’ network to show off homes that have been improved with energy efficiency measures.
The Green Deal ‘cashback portal’ has also opened online, where Green Deal providers, charities, and community groups can register to take part in the scheme.
For further information:
Report accuses UK government of slashing support for fuel poverty (28-Nov)
UK government ‘blitzes’ local energy efficiency initiatives with £40 million (22-Oct)
Householders to get up to £1000 cash back in Green Deal offer (22-Oct)
Slow start to Green Deal putting 16,000 UK jobs at risk (11-Oct)
Article source: http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/5596/