Inevitably we are all talking about Green Deal these days, and we have been doing it for quite a while, but there are a couple of things that don’t seem to be getting mentioned in the current debate, though before we go any further let me make clear that I am pro Green Deal. It should be a great deal for families and the country, but it is no good pretending that there won’t be any snags. Here are a couple more to consider.
I wonder how long it will take householders to realise that they won’t actually make anything from Green Deal during the life of the Green Deal financing? The Green Deal is being sold on the basis that making your home more energy efficient will mean lower energy bills – that is, you will save money. And that should be the case – but…..not until the GD finance deductions are finished. OK maybe a very careful energy user could save money during that period – but most almost certainly won’t.
Sure it is not costing them anything, and that is a big plus. But once they have gone through the rigmarole of applying for a GD EPC and assessment and Green Deal finance, and had the disruption of several different lots of workmen traipsing through the house, leaving a trail of plaster and brick dust behind them, the householder will probably not make a penny in energy savings for what, 5 years? 10 years? More? How many of them realise that I wonder? There is also a question mark over long term gains.
The householder trusts the Green Deal Provider to provide kit which will produce those gains, but some condensing boilers are being replaced after 10 years. If the 10 year GD financing on a new boiler – a new boiler specified by the Green Deal Provider not the householder – does nothing but cover the cost of the boiler up to the point in 10 years time at which it needs to be replaced with another new boiler, then the householder might well feel – with good reason – that he has gained nothing as a result of Green Deal.
The other point worth making is that no-one seems to be looking at the human element of energy efficiency, and this could turn out to be GD’s biggest failing. Test results on zero carbon houses in the US, released a couple of years ago, showed that there were wide variations in the actual energy use in those houses, which came down to the way that different families lived in them and used energy. The same is likely to be true of the people living in homes which have been given the GD treatment. And this will inevitably impact on the Golden Rule. Admittedly the government does not guarantee that the Golden Rule will work in practice in every case, only that theoretically it should work. But families are bound to feel cheated if their energy bills go up after GD work on their home.
As I said, I am in favour of Green Deal and want to see it working, but factors such as this will determine whether it will work or not as far as the end users are concerned, so we need to consider them. It would be a shame if the public felt that GD was a con, because if they do, it is likely that they will blame the person who did the GDA in the first place.
Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine