The existing British property stock is amongst the oldest and leakiest in the Western world and with energy prices soaring, the Government have stepped in to help with the launch of the Green Deal.
The Green Deal aims to transform the UK's building stock to make all properties warmer and cheaper to run, without having to pay all of the upfront costs.
From February 2013, all householders (including homeowners, tenants and landlords) will be able to benefit from energy advice and 'pay-as-you-save' loans for energy efficiency improvements to their property. Covering everything from loft insulation and double glazing through to energy efficient boilers and renewable energy technologies, the cost of the installations are repaid through the savings on your utility bills.
New Energy Company Obligation grants (ECO) will also be available for disadvantaged groups and hard-to-treat homes (including properties with solid walls or non-standard cavities) and will integrate with the Green Deal, allowing an energy supplier subsidy for qualifying properties. This means that for some households, these new installations may be completely free of charge.
All homeowners and tenants will benefit from a comprehensive and impartial Green Deal Assessment of their property, and will be able to shop around between different offers in the market place. Customers can use the new Green Deal finance to pay for the energy efficiency measure up to the limit of the "golden rule" or the can use it alongside their own investment where they want other improvement measures which are not expected to generate savings on their energy bill.
Green Deal Assessments
An independently approved Green Deal Assessor will assess your home to help you decide if the Green Deal is right for you. If it is, they will make recommendations for improvements.
You will then receive a Green Deal Assessment pack confirming what is being recommended and how much you could save on your energy bills. You can request a quote from any approved Green Deal Provider.
Green Deal Quotes
Using the quotes you receive (derived from your Green Deal Assessment); you can compare the cost of the improvements and the repayments. You can then decide which, if any, improvements you want and which approved Green Deal Provider you want to install them.
Your chosen Green Deal Provider will arrange for the measures to be installed by an approved Green Deal Installer. This work will be quality assured and carry a warranty.
Then, enjoy a more comfortable home! Your Green Deal Plan charge repayments will be added automatically to your electricity bill. For tips on how to maximise your energy savings, visit greendealadvice.org.
The "Golden Rule", set out in legislation, specifies that any charge attached to a householder's electricity bill through the installation of Green Deal products must be less than the expected savings from the improvement (over its full lifetime, which can sometimes be up to 25 years).
Of course, not every measure will necessarily pay for itself over its lifetime. In such cases the building owner will be able to contribute to some of the cost to ensure that the Golden Rule can be met. However, some homes, such as low income and vulnerable households and hard-to-treat buildings, may be able to get ECO funding to substitute any shortfall, or fund the retrofits entirely.
Guardian environmental journalist is surprised by the “easy wins” a Green Deal home Assessment throws up.
For the Environment blog this week, Editor Adam Vaughan has his own home assessed and writes about his experience and the “surprising results”.
The Green Deal is the UK Government’s flagship housing energy efficiency programme driving a housing retrofit revolution.
At the heart of the scheme, designed to cut carbon emission and reduce household bills, is the Green Deal Assessment.
Unlike standard Energy Performance ratings (EPC), the Green Deal Assessment is bespoke to your property and how you use energy, which is where the surprises can come in!
Finding out your own is using 30 percent more energy than a similar property is enough to make you think again and seriously consider energy efficiency retrofitting.
As well as assessing the property structure, a Green Deal Assessment goes into further detail, as Adam Vaughan found when he was asked about the number of baths and showers taken a week, how clothing is dried, what temperature the thermostat is set at, radiator temperature in different rooms, how many hours a day heating is on.
The qualified Green Deal Assessor will even go through past-year energy bills to build up an accurate picture of occupancy energy usage and moreover – energy wastage!
This enables the Green Deal Assessor to give an indication of how typical – lower, similar or higher – energy use is, displayed in an easy to read infographic, which compares energy use with a “typical” similar sized property.
The Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR), produced following an Assessment, is as precious as gold-printed paper as it outlines a list of recommendations for saving energy and estimated energy bill savings that would result.
The recommendations are based on the assessment including both Energy Performance rating and Occupancy Assessment, which together is the key to un-locking the potential savings dormant in your home.
The GDAR is a vital part of the Green Deal strategy, which also helps customers finance energy efficiency improvements unlocking finance from potential savings rather than upfront investment.
Controlled by the Green Deal ‘Golden Rule’, Green Deal Finance is calculated based on the rule that lending must be the same or less than the projected energy bills savings calculated.
The Government are looking at harnessing the spending power in potential energy bill savings to help stimulate households to make vitally needed home energy efficiency improvements.
Even if customers who have a Green Deal Assessment do not use Green Deal Finance to pay for completion work, the scheme highlights the huge savings that could be made and that are just under our noses.
Adam Vaughan was shocked when his Green Deal Assessment revealed that his roof insulation, in his modern 2005 house, at 50mm was massively under the recommended 270mm.
Upgrading Adam’s roof insulating was estimated to cost between £100 and £350 with an annual saving of £23.
Using a candle flame to spot drafts and insulating cat flaps were some of the interesting recommendations that came up in the bespoke Green Deal consultancy.
“Make sure you fashion something for that cat flap,” Mr Vaughan was advised!
And in fact it was draught-proofing, suffering from wear-and-tear, which was one of the biggest wins for Mr Vaughan.
As a consumer, where do you stand and where can you find out more. Here at Green Deal Central we can help you sort your ECOs (Energy Company Obligation) from your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).
How do I get a Green Deal Plan?
You need to have an assessment to see if you qualify for Green Deal Finance and what home improvement measures can be installed on your property.
A Green Deal Assessor will visit you in your home, talk to you about your property and your energy use and help you decide if you could benefit from Green Deal improvements.
What happens during the Green Deal Assessment?
To give you an accurate assessment, your assessor (who is sometimes called a Green Deal Advisor) may ask you numerous questions such as:
The actual energy savings will depend on how much energy you use and the future costs of energy.
The cost of the improvements will depend on the price quoted by Green Deal Providers. All of this information will be provided to you in a Green Deal Advice Report.
What happens after the Green Deal Assessment?
Your assessor should give you an understanding of the types of improvements you could make to your home. But they should also give you various documents such as:
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing the energy use of a typical household of your type, plus suggestions for improvements.
An Occupancy Assessment (OA) showing how your household uses energy
Some recommendations for reducing your energy use and the savings you can expect from the improvements
What should I do next?
You can start getting quotations from a future Green Deal Provider such as Green Deal Central. This service will be launched in the new year.
We will be able to recommend specific products, goods and services, and then give you a quote for the cost of the work and enter you into a Green Deal Plan.
How do I get a Green Deal Plan and what does it include?
Green Deal Central can provide the conditions needed for entering into a plan, such as the rate of interest and repayment amounts.
Once you’re happy we can write up a Green Deal Plan contract which outlines the repayments, including the fixes interest charges.
Repayments will be fixed and will include costs associated with the administration and provision of credit for the Green Deal Plan.
Repayments will be based on what a typical household is expected to save on energy bills. The Green Deal is designed to try to save you at least as much money as you will have to repay.
However the actual level of your savings will depend on how much energy you use and the future cost of energy.
But if you use less energy than a typical household you can, if you want, you can take out a Green Deal Plan based on the typical savings shown on the Energy Performance Certificate.
However, then your repayments are likely to be higher than your savings and therefore your energy bills are likely to go up overall – at least in the short-term until the installations are paid off.
Green Deal Central can discuss whether your payments should be reduced, in line with savings you’re likely to make.
How do I pay back the finance?
Green Deal repayments will be collected by the electricity supplier and passed on to the Green Deal Provider.
Once a year you will be sent a statement and you can request statements. You can also pay back the plan early, but that may incur a charge.
What if I move?
The Green Deal Plan stays part of the property so the new occupier will be responsible. The EPC on the home will detail whether there is a Green Deal attached to a home.
If you are the new bill payer and believe you were not informed of the Green Deal Plan, you should
dispute the charges with your Green Deal Provider within 90 days of first being notified.
You can switch supplier under the Green Deal and the new supplier will take on the Plan.
What are my rights as a Green Deal consumer?
There is an important rights and protections procedure which applies under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This gives you a cooling off period and rules around exit arrangements and early repayments.
If you have an further questions then feel free to see any of our handy guides or contact Green Deal Central.
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