January 2013 finally saw the launch of the highly anticipated Green Deal Scheme. Aimed at confronting our everyday energy waste, the new government scheme intends to make homes and (eventually) businesses more eco-friendly at no upfront cost.
The scheme works by encouraging property owners to ‘invest’ in money-saving home improvements, without having to actually pay any money. The idea is that the cost of the improvements will be covered by the subsequent savings made.
Such Green Deal home improvements may include double and triple glazing, new boiler installation, draught-proofing, cavity and solid wall insulation, floor insulation, the replacement of storage heaters and loft and hot water tank insulation.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are even suggesting that the installation of wind turbines and solar panels could also soon be eligible as part of the scheme.
The initial cost of the improvement work ultimately depends on which Green Deal provider the property owner decides to go with. For example, some providers are offering the preliminary assessment at a discounted rate in exchange for them being used to complete the work.
Aside from the cost of this assessment, no other money will be needed up-front, as the scheme allows for the cost of the work to be paid over time, via utility bills.
The government claims that the ‘golden rule’ of the Green Deal is that: “the expected financial savings must be equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill.” Therefore, for the Green Deal scheme to prove effective, the estimated savings must always equal more than the total cost of the improvements.
The scheme has been recognised by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. He claimed that the Green Deal would support “thousands of jobs” and help homes to “stay warm for less”.
Furthermore, MP Edward Garnier said: “The Green Deal will transform the energy efficiency market and put consumers in charge…”
So, a month on and the future is looking… well, fairly green!