The Green Deal is the government’s initiative to support the widespread retro-fitting of properties. Provision for the Green Deal is included within the Energy Bill which is currently progressing through Parliament.
The Green Deal will enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and business at no upfront cost. The cost of the improvement work will be recouped over time through savings from consumers’ energy bills. Crucially these expected financial savings must be equal to or greater than the costs of having the measures installed, something known as the ‘golden rule’.
The first Green Deals are expected in autumn 2012.
The government intends for the Green Deal to remain in place into the long-term (potentially lasting for more than 20 years), and ultimately for every house in the country to be upgraded.
DECC published detailed proposals for the Green Deal for consultation in November 2011. We have worked closely with our RE:NEW project partners including the GLA to lobby the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) over the detail of their proposals. You can download our response below.
Delivering the scheme, particularly in London, will be challenging. The capital has historically seen low levels of delivery for existing energy efficiency programmes such as CESP and CERT, due to its high proportions of flats, solid wall properties and higher delivery costs, and these factors will similarly make the Green Deal more difficult to deliver. However, these characteristics are not all unique to London and can be found in other urban areas, and therefore ensuring that the Green Deal model works in London will mean that it can work in other towns and cities across the country. We had particular concerns about the following issues, which we raise in our consultation response.
At present the consultation proposes that only residents meeting certain super priority categories and living in private tenure housing can be eligible for Affordable Warmth subsidy. We are concerned that though these people are easy to identify, they do not necessarily correlate with those most affected by fuel poverty.
Excluding social tenants is likely to disproportionately affect older people (the majority of fuel poor households include retired residents). It is also true that social tenants tend to move home far less frequently than private renters so the benefits of an upgrade in a social home are likely to be felt for longer than a private rented home.
We also recommend that eligibility should also be extended to residents who are affected by specific health problems which are made significantly worse by poor heating. We recommend that local authorities should be able to refer these people once identified by health care professionals.
Fair distribution of ECO spend
The government is proposing to operate a web and phone based system to offer advice on the Green Deal and identify those that may be eligible for ECO subsidy. We are concerned that though this may work well for ‘clued-up’ professionals, the likelihood of other people, perhaps older people, those who don’t speak English as a first language, or those dealing with the day to day reality of living on low incomes, are far less likely to come forward. On it’s own we do not think the web and phone based system will be sufficient.
The Treasury will make £200m available to stimulate take-up of the scheme. We would like regional allocations of this money to be made and would like local authorities and community groups to be able to come forward with proposed engagement projects for their areas, using the mechanisms they have found successful in the past (e.g. using tenant champions, faith groups or working through schools).
We also believe that due to the higher costs of delivering retro-fitting in London there is a risk that less ECO funded work will take place in the capital (the same was true under previous CERT and CESP schemes). We wish to see a regional allocation of ECO carbon saving subsidy, to ensure London receives its ‘fair share’.