With target dates for decreases in carbon emissions getting ever closer, countries are rolling out energy efficiency plans with increasing regularity and one such example is the UK where it is planned that the Green Deal will commence later this year.
Built around the provision of low interest loans with a value of up to £10,000, the programme offers UK homeowners and businesses the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings without the outlay of one lump sum. Instead, the necessary improvements will be made to a building with the money provided by a Green Deal lender and subsequent repayments being recouped via energy bill savings over the next 20 years.
In order for the programme to be financially attractive, a ‘Golden Rule’ has been put in place which will theoretically ensure that home owners do not pay back more than they are saving. However, the validity of this promise has been criticised and some experts have warned that an upfront payment from home owners may be required for this balance to be achieved.
As the term ‘Energy Efficiency’ is such a loaded and wide-reaching term, it’s not particularly easy to nail down exactly what home improvements are potentially covered by the scheme. Indeed, there is some disagreement on the eligibility of technology such as solar panels and wind turbines as official wording has been fairly vague to date. That said, there are a number of key areas that will definitely be covered by the loans and these include:
- Insulation; including most common forms such as wall, roof, floor and loft.
- Heating; such as boiler replacements, under floor heating and heat pump installation.
- Lighting; including improved fittings and controls.
- Double glazing; both windows and doors.
It is thought that final clarification on what will be covered within the Green Deal will be provided closer to the launch date in October.
With the first Green Deal providers announced (including well known companies such as British Gas, Carillion and E.ON) it is hoped that the first work will begin in October 2012. However, there are underlying fears that it won’t be until 2013 that the scheme is properly rolled out throughout the UK. Additionally, the Green Deal for business premises has been suspended for the moment due to additional complexities with commercial properties.
If you live in the UK, own your home and would like to take advantage of the Green Deal, the bad news is that you cannot yet register your interest in the scheme. The best you can do is keep an eye on the news or websites such as Jablite.co.uk for further announcements. With just five months to go until the projected launch, it’s expected (and hoped) that there will be firmer details available in the very near future!