Monday, 23 December 2013

Green deal: time to power on with energy saving

The roundtable's broad sentiment, however, was that the green deal and ECO could still be a success – if changes are made.

Establishing more trust, between householders and the people who are to "hold their hand" through the process of improving their home's energy efficiency, was crucial, many said. Although homeowners understand why energy companies are heavily involved in the area, they place greater trust in councils, local community groups and charities – which is why those organisations need to take a greater role in selling and delivering the schemes.

To get over consumer inertia, the financial savings from energy efficiency upgrades needed to be much more immediate, several people observed. One proposal, mooted by some in the building industry since the green deal's launch, has been to give owners of the most efficient homes discounts on stamp duty and council tax.

Removing the upfront costs of the assessments would help too, several people suggested. "If I [was government and] had a pot of money, instead of spending thousands on this and that [the coalition budget promoting the green deal and ECO], I'd give free assessments for some people," she said.

The focus in future, many agreed, should be about getting people to take out an assessment in the first place, and then letting them decide what to do next, rather than promoting the whole "green deal journey", as the government has done so far. Others felt that, if technical obstacles could be overcome, the assessor should be able to give more advice to the homeowner on what to do next.

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