UK “Green Deal” Becomes Law - 7:00 AM
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently announced that with the passing of the Energy Act, the Green Deal will now become a legal framework set in stone. The launch of the Green Deal in the autumn of 2012 will be welcome news to those households struggling to heat their homes. This is especially true for the more than 50 pct of homes that have inadequate insulation in the UK (according to the DECCs new Housing Energy Fact File).
The key elements of the Act are as follows:
- Remove the upfront cost of energy efficiency measures (like loft, cavity and external wall insulation, draught proofing and energy efficiency glazing and boilers) making expensive home improvement affordable. For the first time in the world, the energy saving work will be repaid over time through a charge on the home’s energy bill. The repayments must obey a “golden rule” whereby the charge is no more than the expected savings, meaning householders should save from day one.
- Put consumer protection at the heart of the Green Deal. High standards will be crucial from the first independent home energy assessment to getting the job done by qualified installers. All Green Deal participants will need to carry a “quality mark” so customers know they can be trusted to do a good job.
- Provide extra financial help for the most vulnerable and hardest to treat homes by getting energy companies to fund work like basic insulation and boiler upgrades as well as helping those living in homes where the cost of the work, like solid wall insulation, may not obey the “golden rule” without extra money to make it affordable.
- Improve at least 682,000 privately rented homes. From April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a house or business premise which has less than an “E” energy efficiency rating.
The announcement of the passing of the Energy Act comes on the heels of the promise that the Green Deal Finance Company will offer low-cost interest rates on Green Deals, hopefully making it an attractive deal for consumers and businesses alike.
Greg Barker, climate change minister, had this to say about the passing of the Energy Act: “As well as helping people save money through home energy improvement , the Green Deal will be a massive business opportunity. It’s expected to attract capital investment of up to £15 billion in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at its peak, the Green Deal could support around 250,000 jobs.”