The Green Deal So Far

21 Mar 2014

What is the Green Deal all about? In our Green Deal analysis we summarise the history, context, intentions and performance after the first year.

[caption id="attachment_608" align="alignright" width="419"]Double glazing installer retrofitting new windows into an older house The Green Deal helps homeowners install energy efficiency measures, like upgrading to double glazing[/caption]Over 31,000 people died in this country from the cold last winter, and the UK suffers from the second highest rate of fuel poverty in Europe after Estonia.The Green Deal was introduced in January 2013 as a way of helping homeowners take the initiative to improve their homes by offering them low rates of repayment and cash incentives.The idea was to retrofit substandard properties with improvements that will increase insulation, minimise energy loss and reduce winter fuel bills.Through these measures the government hopes to meet carbon emission targets and raise the standard of housing in the UK.

How does the Green Deal work?

After a free assessment, homeowners receive a report detailing ways to improve their homes, so they then have the option of signing up to a Green Deal plan.After having their energy efficient improvements installed, the cost of the project will be repaid through the subsequent savings the occupiers’ make on energy bills. The loan is attached to the house (through the electricity meter) rather than the homeowner, so new tenants will take over the repayments.The Green Deal covers more than 40 potential improvements such as boiler replacements, double glazing upgrades, wall and loft insulation and a new front door, depending on the current condition of the property. Loans will only be offered for the areas needed to bring the property up to standard.

That sounds great! It must be a success, then.

Well no, actually. In theory the Green Deal sounds like a great idea, but it has had a poor reception. Only 746 plans have been completed after one year of the Green Deal out of 145,110 home assessments (a conversion rate of around 0.5%), making up less than 8% of the 10,000 completed projects that Energy Minister Greg Barker MP predicted before the scheme’s launch.For some industries, the scheme has had little to no impact. For example, within the glazing industry, only one window installation was completed by Green Deal finance by December last year.Somewhere along the line the message has got scrambled. So how did such a promising policy end up performing so badly? Find out in our next blog in our series about the Green Deal.