With the cost of non-renewable energy sources continuing to rise and the environmental situation becoming increasingly worrying, the UK government has decided to launch a new scheme by October 2012, entitled the Green Deal. This scheme will assist householders and businesses all over the country in lowering their carbon emissions as well as saving money and ultimately upgrading their homes and businesses. We can no longer afford to be wasteful with energy – the Green Deal will be the biggest home energy programme of modern times. Customers will have the opportunity to access energy saving improvements now and pay nothing up front. After properties are assessed and suitable upgrades installed, customers will be able to pay for these over a 25 year period. The government has provided the assurance that money saved on energy bills will go towards payment for these upgrades.
British homes are among the most inefficient in the developed world, with a quarter of the money spent on heating properties being wasted through inadequate insulation. In England alone, 4.1 million households are living in fuel poverty. The key focus of this new initiative will be to offer assistance to households and businesses who cannot achieve significant energy savings without support. Vulnerable and low income households and those living in difficult to treat properties will benefit greatly from this initiative. Legally binding carbon budgets have been set across all sectors of the UK economy including homes, communities and workplaces.
Customers wishing to take advantage of the Green Deal must first have a property assessment conducted by a Green Deal accredited advisor. The current energy performance of the property will be assessed and the customer advised on appropriate measures they would be eligible for under the scheme. Suitability is based on what is known as the ‘Golden Rule’ of the Green Deal, which basically means that financial savings made from the energy efficiency improvements must be equal to, or greater than, the costs attached to the energy bill. It is worth noting that the loan is fixed to the property and not the individual and adverse credit history will not be an issue. It has been stated by the government that many of the poorest and most vulnerable households will benefit first from this initiative. They will focus on properties and households that cannot make energy savings without extra financial support.
The type of improvements the government will be looking at initially will be cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, loft insulation and boiler upgrades. Although not yet confirmed, it is thought that the Green Deal will ultimately extend to renewable technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and solar thermal systems.
A recent survey carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) discovered that home owners who installed loft and cavity wall insulation and a new energy efficient boiler, were making an annual saving of around £322. They also saw a 44% fall in their gas usage over a four year period.
In the current energy conscious climate, it is worth looking into what you can do to help the environment – and ultimately yourself – as soon as possible. See government websites for further information.
Ian Wright is a contributor to GreenDeal.co.uk, which is the premier source of information about the Green Deal and The Eco Experts which deals with common solar panel issues such as Why Choose Commercial Solar Power for Business?.