UK Energy Minister hails Green Deal in run up to launch

UK Energy Minister Greg Barker hailed the Green Deal at the Ecobuild conference in London yesterday ahead of the launch of the flagship scheme this autumn.

“It is truly revolutionary,” he said. “It will help homeowners, landlords and tenants get a whole range of home improvements beyond insulation, including a whole range of front of house, eye catching measures.”

He said the scheme would tackle the UK’s housing stock, which is among some of the worst in Europe and is responsible for over 40% of the UK’s total emissions.

He added that the Green Deal will also create a new market for the building and home improvement industry.

“Our analysis supporting consultation proposals suggest that employment in the sector could more than double by 2015,” he said. “Personally I think these are conservative estimates. And we are talking about billions of pounds worth of investment.”

Barker emphasised that the scheme will be about more than just insulation, but will support the installation of a range of energy efficiency measures including heating, glazing, lighting and some microgeneration technologies.

“Less well-known measures which improve energy efficiency, such as flue gas heat recovery and waste water recovery systems will also be eligible for finance under the Green Deal,” he announced. “Some new measures have been included… such as solar blinds and shading devices.”

He said that the measures installed under the Green Deal would not necessarily have to pay for themselves over their lifetime, but could be part-financed or form part of a package if not.

New energy efficiency technologies will also find it easier to be added to the Green Deal, he said, with the process now streamlined so that “new and innovative measures can be included… on a systematic basis once their performance is independently verified.”

Barker also announced a relaxation of the red tape requirements for Green Deal providers, who will no longer have to have a surety bond in place or provide an independent conciliation service.

Warranties on work will also no longer have to be offered for the length of the plan but will use existing schemes where possible or consumers will receive five-year produce warranties and ten-year consequential building damage cover.

“We have revisited our consultation position on Green Deal provider authorisation requirements to help promote a competitive market, and reduce costs which will ultimately be passed onto the consumer,” he said. “Within this, we are of course ensuring that robust consumer standards are met.”

There will be a Green Deal ombudsman to handle complaints and customers will be supported by a consumer advice line, which will go live on April 2, initially providing information on existing energy efficiency offers and renewable energy incentives.

A Green Deal provider guide will be issued shortly but he Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Barker encouraged the companies to come also to a series of ten regional events in the run up to the launch.

He reassured the audience that the scheme is still on schedule to launch this autumn, although some of the final details remain to be finalised.

“The primary legislation to make the Green Deal a reality is already on the statute books... And we are currently finalising the secondary legislation following the close of our public consultation,” he said.

For further information:

Related stories:
UK government announces £3.5 million boost for Green Deal skills (8-Mar)
UK home insulation levels making slow progress (8-Mar)
Subsidised insulation could lift 1.3 million UK homes out of fuel poverty (14-Dec 2011)
Green Deal could create £800 million energy efficiency market, says Ernst & Young (24-Oct 2011)

21 March 2012