Energy prices are estimated to rise from 15 to 25% by 2025, which means our leaky houses aren't just burning through fossil fuels, but our hard earned cash too. Enter the Green Deal.
The Green Deal is big news. Hailed by Chris Huhne as "the most comprehensive energy saving plan in the world", the deal will offer energy-saving home improvements for every house in the country at no upfront cost. Climate Minister Greg Barker has said he wants this to be “the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War.”
Scheduled for launch next year, the Green Deal entitles every home to improvements worth up to £10,000. Effectively, it's a completely free upgrade, as the cost of the work comes out of the your savings in energy bills over time, and when it's paid off, the savings go straight to your pocket. If you're put off at the idea of a long term loan, don't be. Debts from the deal will be attached to properties, not individuals, and won't contribute to your credit rating.
Don't be put off by the idea of a long-term loan – debts from the deal will be attached to properties, not individuals, and won't contribute to your credit rating.
The golden rule of the deal is that the savings from the work carried out will repay the costs, never leaving you out of pocket. The length of repayment depends on the improvements needed – external wall insulation can cost in excess of £7000, but some measures such as cavity wall insulation will pay off over 3 or 4 years. Landlords will leap at an opportunity to increase the value of their property with no upfront costs, which is great news for tenants living in draughty homes, unable to make changes themselves.
Last week we heard that the deal could even go beyond improving efficiency – renewable energy may be on the cards. The deal will also take care to ensure that low-income households who can't afford heating (and so wouldn't be able to make repayments through their bills) won't be left in the cold, as well as helping vulnerable homes requiring improvements that wouldn't be covered by regular Green Deal finance can't stretch to.
Not everyone has cash in the bank to pay for repairs, and some are put off insulation by the thought of failing to keep up monthly repayments. For those with all the will in the world but not the means, the Green Deal is a godsend. 10:10 are sure to leap at this chance to cut another 10% (or more!), but for a scheme like this to work, participation is everything.
Looking to get as many people on board as possible, the government will be tempting the nation into insulating with some extra, as yet unannounced, perks.
Looking to get as many people on board as possible, the government will be tempting the nation into insulating with some extra, as yet unannounced, perks (cuts in council tax have been rumoured). We’ll hear more on that front in the autumn.
The deal has already gained financial support from major retailers such as M&S, John Lewis, Tesco, Asda and B&Q; with a bit of luck, public approval will follow suit. Should all of the UK's 26m households take up this kind offer, we’ll have placed the first nail in carbon's coffin and given a massive boost to green jobs. Government figures estimate that employment in the sector will jump from 27,000 to nearly a quarter of a million. With the potential to cut carbon, tackle fuel poverty and create thousands of green jobs, the Green Deal is a huge step in the right direction.