Having done a number of Green Deal assessments to date, it has been interesting to get the customer feedback on how they potentially see the scheme helping them increase the energy efficiency of their home and also go over some of the concerns that they have raised about it so far.
Typically, it seems that most customers seem to have a positive view of the Green Deal and what it is trying to achieve, however they are surprised some of the measures on their ‘wishlist’ are not immediately recommended when the Green Deal reports are finalised.
How the Green Deal recommendations work
The RdSAP software (reduced SAP) works by targeting the improvements that will best improve the energy efficiency of the home. Normally, the measures suggested will target the envelope of the home first; so the roof, walls and floors. It is the roof and the walls combined that account for over 50% of potential heat loss of property. Improving these areas by increasing insulation or draught proofing is the most common recommendation; and except in very few circumstances these will be recommended ahead of having a new boiler installed or fitting double glazed windows. So if you have an old boiler that you feel may be coming to the end of its useful life, the Green Deal won’t necessarily fund a new one, if other measures would make a more significant impact on your home.
The Green ticks vs. Orange ticks
There is a difference between what the Green Deal will finance under its framework and what it will not. A lot of customers have asked the question on the differences between the ‘green’ and ‘orange’ ticks. Well the green tick means there is no upfront cost for the customer as the measure is forecasted to pay for its self with the projected savings. On the other hand an orange tick means the customer will have to make a contribution to the Green Deal plan, whether that is in part or in full.
An orange tick also means the projected savings are not big enough to pay off in a sensible period of time, so financing energy efficiency improvements via the Green Deal isn’t the best of way of doing it.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
A lot of customers have asked whether they can some ECO financing towards their Green Deal Plan. First of all what is ECO? It is an amount of money (precisely £1.3billion) that the energy companies have to set aside to assist helping improve the energy efficiency of properties where the occupants are in fuel poverty, vulnerable or disabled.
Within ECO there is also a tranche, called the Carbon Saving Obligation and this is meant to help finance some of the hard to treat walls. For example if you have an un-insulated solid wall or a narrow cavity you may qualify for some ECO money if the Green Deal Report recommends solid wall insulation. If you see a green tick for solid wall insulation make sure you speak to your Green Deal Provider and find out how much of the total Green Deal Plan would be part financed by this grant.
Just to manage expectations, the ECO may not actually finance all of the cost of solid wall insulation but it should certainly help cover some of it.
Green Deal cashback mechanism
This is the biggest unknown that I have found so far when summarising to customers what they could do next. The Government have actually put aside £40million for early adopters of the scheme. So if you actually have Green Deal measures installed in the property you could qualify up to £1,000 of cashback. The amount will vary by measure.
The Green Deal and financing home improvements
Finally, there are a lot of scare stories about what you would do if you wanted to sell the property and having the Green Deal on the electricity meter would put off potential buyers. This view is wrong. By having the Green Deal quality sticker on the property will demonstrate that the property has improved energy efficiency and therefore in the long run also have lower bills – surely this makes it a more attractive proposition.
Author: Nicholas Miles (Green Deal Advisor)