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The Green Deal: who would you prefer to deliver it?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 July 2010 at 10:56 am

For mass take-up of energy saving measures we need effective financing schemes, so we welcome the glimpses of detail on the Green Deal that Greg Barker gave us at the end of June. However, it’s not enough to get a clear view of how the scheme will work.

How will it be delivered?

Barker said: “Two things are vital. Community involvement is very important, but the other exciting thing about the green deal is that it is not just reliant on the big six energy companies, which have mixed reputations, but brings in some of our most trusted high street retailers and brands, such as Marks and Spencer and Tesco, which have strong degrees of consumer trust.”

Yes, they’ve got consumer trust. But for selling food, or clothes, or DIY products. Not for their expertise on installing domestic energy efficiency. This isn’t a pile it high, sell it cheap product. It’s specific to the needs of each house, and customers need expert advice on the best solution for their circumstances.

Past grants schemes for insulation have tended to be very one dimensional, with little choice of material. It’s mineral wool or nothing under most of the schemes. I hope that this scheme, which has a much more ambitious reach in numbers covered, will also offer householders choice as to products and measures – as long as they meet the goals of reducing carbon emissions and reducing the total energy bill. This will need the involvement of local and specialist companies, as well as the big national ones.

Not only will this offer choice, but it will help boost local businesses to provide the green jobs that are so much mentioned, and give consumers some peace of mind. Smaller, local companies have to deliver a good service, their reputation depends on it, and word soon gets out if they don’t. The nationals are much more likely to sub-contract the work, and put pressure on the margins of the people working for them, losing the level of accountability for customers.

Who would you rather get your insulation and other energy efficiency measures from? The big boys? Smaller, local installers? The council? A N Other? Please let us know by commenting at the bottom of this blog, and voting in the poll on the YouGen home page.

The pay-as-you-save pilot schemes set up under the last government won’t report until April 2011, but I hope that the coalition will learn from what has happened so far. The innovative charity Bioregional, which has been running a pilot with Sutton Council and B&Q emphasises the importance of bringing it back to community and partnership levels.

The figure of £6,500 is a disappointment. I know that it’s the one the Conservatives were touting in the run up to the election, but hoped that the LibDems would negotiate it up nearer the £10,000 that they were proposing.

It’s also a serious disappointment that microgeneration will not be covered under this scheme. There are plenty of households that have insulated, and would like to take things further, but need help with the up-front costs. Yes there is a feed-in tariff, but that doesn’t help with the capital cost. It looks as though the government relying on the market to provide - but is that the best way to go, and will it provide in a way that will encourage action on a large scale?

Photo by Jurvetson


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4 comments - read them below or add one


ItalicSixComment left on: 12 August 2010 at 9:02 pm

I work for a local company installing renewables and although we are more expensive than big national companys our customers say in fact it is our good local reputation that is more important to them when they choose us.

The main concern with sub-contracting is the quality of the work. Having a good quality standard in place is key to this and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme has aslways ensured these standards in the same way as Corgi (RIP), GasSafe & Oftec have for the fossil fuels.

My concern is that if the Government do not commit to the Renewable Heat Incentive then anyone can start a 'Cowboy' business giving the industry a bad name.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 9 August 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hi Bob

Good point. Have you got any suggestions of how we can educate the building, electrical and plumbing professions to give good advice?

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Bob Irving

Bob IrvingComment left on: 9 August 2010 at 12:02 pm

Agree totally on the effect of involving M&S and Tesco.

Main trouble is that there is insufficient expertise in the field, especially in solid wall insulation, so your small, local company is not liable to be much good either. At the moment, few builders know much about  'green building'.....

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JTec Energy PerformanceComment left on: 14 July 2010 at 6:17 pm

Catthy, you are absolutely right when you say This is specific to the needs of each house, and customers need expert advice on the best solution for their circumstances.

I wrote about this in a previous blog on You Gen -

Since then we've had a change of government, but I still hope that the new administration is committed to delivering high quality energy advice within the Green Deal.

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