Ways in which Green Deal could be more ambitious
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2011 at 10:10 am
The plans for a Green Deal scheme to finance energy efficiency lack ambition and are in danger of only delivering the easy to install solutions such as loft and cavity wall insulation according to a number of commentators.
Speaking at this week's Low Carbon Community Conference in London, Tim Lunel of the National Energy Foundation asked why limit the loan scheme to only measures that can be paid back out of savings. Citing a project he was involved with in Hook Norton, which offered zero interest loans for improving energy efficiency (and 3% loans for solar PV installations), he said that people are happy to pay to increase energy efficiency. However, they need access to loans to spread the payments out.
Even better, he added, would be whole house packages under the Green Deal. These could be done over time, and would join up the incentives for renewable energy under the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive with the green deal.
The UK Green Building Council is also calling for whole house refurbishment, so that: “if needed or preferred , refurbishment work can be done in incremental stages rather than all at once, whilst still ensuring the best solutions from a cost and carbon perspective are being used. If the Green Deal ends up becoming a different way of delivering only the most cost effective meaures, we will have missed a huge opportunity.”
Also in agreement is Russell Smith of Parity Projects which is a leader in the retrofit market. In a briefing for the AECB (the sustainable building association), he said: “I don’t think it has sunk in that ‘whole house approach’ does not necessarily mean ‘empty the house, gut it, renovate, re-house’. Low-energy refurbishment can be carried out over a number of years very successfully on more steady budgets, provided that a whole house plan is in place.” He argues that there is a very different cost of implementation of c.30% between the two approaches (ie all-at-once, versus plan-it-all-and-seize-your-moments-as-they-arise).
Smith also expressed a hope that the green deal measures will be ‘joined up’ with the incentives for microgeneration and renewable heat. This hope was echoed by representatives of low carbon communities attending the conference, who also emphasised how important it is for government to engage with them if they want to be successful in getting widespread take up.
Projects they are already running demonstrate the importance of trusted local sources of information in encouraging take up of measures. They are also able to reduce transaction costs by packaging up groups of measures that are tailored to their local communities.
Photo by aussiegall
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