|The Green Deal|
This autumn (provisionally October 2012) sees the arrival of the long awaited ‘Green Deal’, a mechanism whereby we are all going to be encouraged to insulate our homes to the max - Which is of course a great idea.
By all accounts UK homes are amongst the worst insulated buildings in Europe. I guess this is hardly surprising; for all our moaning we have astonishingly benign weather and until recently were surrounded by seas filled with oil and natural gas. Alas, all good things come to an end, and as our own stocks of fossil fuel have dwindled away the price of heating our homes has gently rocketed through the ceiling, so much so that these days only a fool would fail to insulate.
So what exactly is this ‘Green Deal’? Well, to the government at least, it is a work of wonder. Why? Because, to the mandarins of Whitehall, the perfect grant will offer as much encouragement as possible whilst, ideally, spending little or no money.
With the Green Deal the government actually gets to spend nothing, because it’s not really a grant at all - you don’t actually get any money from anyone. Not a penny!
So what the hell is it? Well, I guess you could call it the “Green Bank Loan”.
How it works is as follows:
- Firstly, somebody either knocks on your door, or you – eager to embrace green ideals – ring a partner company in the Green Deal.
- An Assessor, who has been trained for days in the black art of energy efficiency, will now appear on your doorstep and conduct a survey of your home.
- The survey complete, they will then make a series of recommendations, all of which are covered by one single caveat, or ‘golden-rule’ – the cost of the energy efficiency measures they recommend must generate more savings than they actually cost.
- Astonished and amazed by these potential saving you say yes to the proposed measures and before you can say ‘carbon footprint’ the work begins.
So who pays for all this work? Well, you do – or at least the person who pays the utility bill for that home does. The idea is that the cost of the new insulation will be added onto your utility bill but – and here’s the clever bit – because that bill has gone down as a result of all this new insulation the overall cost should remain the same, or actually be slightly less.
Because the work was designed to improve that particular home the cost of paying for the work stays with that home i.e. if you sell up the new owner will get a utility bill with the remaining cost of the insulation still built into the bill.
To be honest I think it sounds like a great idea. Yes, I can see all sorts of potential pitfalls, not least of which is this energy saving v cost equation and the number of different parties involved – the assessor, the insulation seller, the installer, the energy company, the bank covering the loan. With that many people involved it could all go pear-shaped in no time at all - and I assume that’s why it’s taken so long to get everything rolling.
That said, if you have an old home with solid external walls, this could be a real boon as it would cover the cost of getting external wall insulation fitted without the hassle of arranging a bank loan.
All we have to do now is wait until the Autumn!