Green Deal ? Raw Deal !

In response to our Energy Letter campaign, David Penney offers his analysis of UK Government policy on energy conservation in buildings…and says that the Green Deal seems rather like a raw deal…

Government Policy on Energy Conservation in Buildings

According to the guidance issued for the Government National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012) published by the Department of Communities and Local Government: “In 2009 buildings accounted for about 43% of all the UK’s carbon emissions. Buildings and other developments can also damage the environment, through poor waste management or inefficient use of resources. We need to reduce carbon emissions from buildings and make sure that planning policies help to protect and improve the natural and built environment.” This is a crucial matter in combating and reducing the damage of climate change.

Under the NPPF, developments should be planned to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. To reduce carbon emissions from buildings, the Government:

•    is requiring local planning authorities to make sure that new developments are energy efficient.

•    will require all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 and are considering extending this to include all other buildings from 2019.

•    has introduced the Green Deal to enable people to pay for home improvements over time using savings on their regular energy bills.

•    has improved Energy Performance Certificates to make them more informative and user-friendly.

Through the Green Deal, you can make energy-saving improvements to your home or business without having to pay all the costs up front. Energy-saving improvements include:

•    insulation (e.g. loft or cavity wall insulation);
•    heating;
•    draught-proofing;
•    double glazing;
•    renewable energy technologies (e.g. solar panels or wind turbines).

You may be able to claim money back from the government for your Green Deal home improvements through the Cashback scheme. What you need to do is to:

•    Get an assessment of your property to see what improvements you can make and how much you could save on your energy bills.

•    Use the assessment to apply for the Cashback scheme if you qualify.

•    Choose a Green Deal provider to carry out the work. You discuss with them what work you want done and whether the Green Deal is right for you.

•    If you go ahead with the improvements you must sign your Green Deal Plan – this is a contract between you and the provider stating what work will be done and how much it will cost. The provider will then arrange for a Green Deal installer to do the work.

•    Once the work is done, you’ll pay off the money in instalments through your electricity bill.

There is a danger that this flagship Government policy will turn into a Raw Deal!

The fact that consumers will have to pay back the costs of any Green Deal measures by adding it to their energy bills is off-putting as many are struggling to pay their ordinary mounting energy bills. The take up for the scheme has been relatively very low so far and will likely not achieve the targets of the Government.

Added to that there is a shortage of qualified certified assessors and installers. So, some customers have been taken in my scam merchants who offer to do the Green Deal for you. They can charge up to £120 for the necessary Assessment alone without going onto carry out the work. So, taking the Green Deal as a whole, I don’t think it is good value for money or the environment and will deter people from applying.

On reflection, the Green Deal is not a Real Deal – it is not a Fair Deal either. That’s why it should be called a Raw Deal. This paltry policy clearly shows that the Government cannot claim it is the Greenest Government ever and it does not take the reality and threat of climate change seriously.

The UK Government have introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes which provides a single national standard for the design and construction of sustainable new homes.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It aims to reduce carbon emissions and promote higher standards of sustainable design above the current minimum standards set out by the building regulations.

The code provides 9 measures of sustainable design:
•    energy/CO2;
•    water;
•    materials;
•    surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention);
•    waste;
•    pollution;
•    health and well-being;
•    management;
•    ecology.

It uses a 1 to 6 star system to rate the overall sustainability performance of a new home against these 9 categories.

The code is voluntary, and the Government does not intend to make it mandatory.

All EU member states must follow the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which came into force on 9th January 2013. This requires that:

•    All properties (homes, commercial and public buildings) must have an Energy Performance Certificate when sold, built or rented.

•    Larger public buildings must display a Display Energy Certificate.

•    All air-conditioning systems over 12kW must be regularly inspected by an Energy Assessor.

Government Schemes are not as thorough-going as other European Countries like Germany, which insists that Energy Conservation Measures be fully implemented in renovated as well as new built properties. Further, a lot of the measures are voluntary and not mandatory, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes. This will reduce the impact and implementation of energy saving devices.

 

David Penney
24th September 2013

 




 

Notes

Whilst buildings produce 43% of the UK’s carbon emissions, they are responsible for 40% of the energy consumption :-

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-the-energy-efficiency-of-buildings-and-using-planning-to-protect-the-environment/supporting-pages/energy-performance-of-buildings
[Policy tab] “Policy : Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and using planning to protect the environment”
“Issue : In 2009 buildings accounted for about 43% of all the UK’s carbon emissions. Buildings and other developments can also damage the environment, through poor waste management or inefficient use of resources. We need to reduce carbon emissions from buildings and make sure that planning policies help to protect and improve the natural and built environment. […]”
[Details tab] “Supporting detail: Energy performance of buildings : 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions come from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively small changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing total energy consumption. […]”

The Labour Party have promised to reconfigure the Green Deal if they are elected.


One comment on “Green Deal ? Raw Deal !
  1. Deborah Tomkins says:

    I think David has written a useful critique of the Green Deal. I would also add some comments I have seen in other quarters. The first is that the loan is attached to the house, and not the householder, which might seem a fair way of organising this; however, the loan averages 7% in terms of interest, whereas householders could get a loan from their bank or building society at a far lower rate (I saw 3% quoted in the national press recently, if added to an existing mortgage). So a government-backed loan might seem like a good idea, but again it seems a bit of a raw deal financially. In addition, people wishing to sell their home may find that prospective buyers are put off by an expensive loan attached to the property.

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