Left out in the cold-What’s next after the Green Deal
by Mark Pearce, Managing Director, KJM Group
It was meant to deliver the ‘biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War’, one that would cut energy bills for 14m homeowners. But only 18-months after it was introduced, the Green Deal - the Government’s flagship energy policy - was scrapped this summer after claims it had completely failed to deliver for homeowners.
Introduced in January 2013, the Green Deal was simple in theory but less so in practice. The Government leant money to householders to help them improve the energy efficiency of their homes through insulation, boiler upgrades and double glazing. Residents saved money in the long term from cheaper bills, and paid back the loan through their savings.
In reality interest rates at 8% - a rate higher than many ordinary bank loans – and a complex and overly laborious sign-up process meant that take up came in woefully short of target.
Announcing the Government’s Decision to scrap the scheme, DECC minister Amber Rudd said: “Together we can achieve the Government’s ambition to make homes warmer and drive down bills for one million more homes by 2020 – and do so at the best value for money for taxpayers”.
But more than three months on, it’s still not clear where the Government is going on energy policy and that’s leaving homeowners out in the cold.
The Green Deal needed to be scrapped – it was a waste of time and money. Amber Rudd got that absolutely right - but it also needs to be replaced and on that the Government is far less clear. Statements on energy policy have been conspicuous by their absence in the last parliamentary term.
The only notable change on energy policy was the closure of the massively popular and hugely overly subscribed, Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, in September.
Separate to the Green Deal in that it was not administered by the Green Deal Finance Company, it offered all homeowners a £500 cash incentive to make energy efficient home improvements to their properties as long as they did so within 12 months of moving into a new home.
With this and the Green Deal now gone government-backed energy efficiency home improvement incentives are for the moment at least, pretty thin on the ground.
The best place to start looking for support is the Government’s Energy Saving Trust. It, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help homeowners implement energy saving measures. To find out more go to Energy Saving Trust . The EST also runs an advice and information helpline and can be contacted on 0300 123 1234.
The alternative is self-funding. We offer an extensive range of energy efficient products from energy efficient double-glazed windows and doors to ultra-high performance triple glazing. For advice on how energy efficient doors can reduce your bills and make your home warmer and more secure see the KJM Guide to Energy Ratings
The advantages are multiple weather timber windows, low maintenance PVC or aluminium windows and doors - better aesthetics and security go hand-in-hand with energy efficient new generation products.
But what is clear is that the Government will at some point have to line its ducks up and introduce a new strategy. It has targets to reduce CO2 emissions and the UK’s ‘leaky’ housing stock is a major contributor to energy consumption. Until then, we’ll continue to watch this space.
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