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Green Deal - will the advice be good enough?

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 3 December 2010 at 9:15 am

You're probably painfully aware that there's a lot still to be decided about how the Green Deal will work.  According to DECC the Green Deal process starts with the provision of advice: "All households and businesses will be entitled to an energy efficiency assessment as part of Green Deal. An accredited assessor will produce the assessment."

But, what exactly does this mean?  What sort of advice will be provided, and who will provide it?   What is meant by accredited assessor?  How is an energy efficiency assessment relevant to energy advice?  Well, to help fill in the detail, early next year I'll be participating in a workshop which aims to identify the likely new functions, skills, knowledge and behaviours that a Green Deal Adviser will need.

According to the workshop brief, Green Deal advisers will provide one-to-one personalised advice to building owners and occupiers on both behavioural changes and measures that could be installed to improve the energy efficiency of their property.  Along with many other experts, I believe that it's not possible to give good advice on either behavioural changes or improvement measures, without first conducting a thorough energy efficiency inspection of the property.

For homes that are for sale or to let, a property energy efficiency inspection creates the mandatory Energy Performance Certificate that has to be provided to the prospective buyer or tenant.  An approved method (RdSAP) is used for this, which ignores how the occupier uses their home. This is done in order to provide an energy assessment that is relevant for the new occupier; after all, the new owner may be a single person, who prefers lower temperatures, for shorter periods; so the fuel bills of the large family who previously heated the home 24 hours a day may not be a good guide.

For giving good advice to the current occupier, on the other hand, the energy assessment must  consider how the occupier uses their home.  So an inspection using RdSAP is a great starting point, but more is needed to make the advice fit the needs of the occupier. The workshop needs to set down the detail of what these extras are, because until we have this definition, the big challenge of training, qualifying and accrediting the Green Deal advisers can't be finished.

I'll be writing further blogs on Green Deal as things develop, and my future blogs will also cover other uses for home energy assessments. 

Photo by Kevin Dooley

About the author: @linniR is a consultant, a freelance writer and a Domestic Energy Assessor accredited with the NHER scheme, and she enjoys all three.  She tweets regularly on issues relating to energy efficiency and renewables and provides consultancy, especially in relation to training needs.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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