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Is the Green Deal right for me?

Posted by Chris Newman on 25 February 2013 at 9:13 am

Here at Parity, we are getting more and more calls from people who start the conversation with some variation on the theme of “is the Green Deal any good for me?”. Given the bad press it’s had over recent weeks and months, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was a pretty easy question to answer, but it’s not quite that simple.

Two major barriers to retrofit have always been that people lack the money to pay the up-front costs; and many don’t want to invest in improvements when they may move home before receiving the full benefit of their investment.

The green deal has been designed around these two barriers, and for that reason it will suit many people that are in one or both of those two positions. It will fund (or, in most cases, part fund) work for those that previously lacked access to enough cash to do the work. It will also be good for those who plan to move home within the next few years – particularly important since energy efficiency is rarely fully reflected in property prices.

If you fall into one of those groups, then you should consider the green deal. Likewise, if you are a landlord that wants to upgrade one or more of the homes you own while sharing the cost with your tenants, it could be a good option. On the flipside, it’s also a helpful tool for tenants who would otherwise struggle to get their landlords to make their cold and leaky homes warmer and cheaper to run.

For all these groups, the green deal financing mechanism is the key, but care should still be taken with the advice process. As an assessment company you may think we’re bound to say this, but green deal assessments aren’t very robust, especially in how they deal with occupancy (how you actually use your home – which is a big driver of what energy-saving measures will suit you).

They’re also not going to work well for complex properties, and particularly for old/heritage properties. In these circumstances, a green deal assessment may still be necessary to help you get access to the finance, but it’s worth considering getting some more detail advice (like on of our Masterplans!) to help you pick the right measures for your home.

Another issue with the green deal is that the assessment is centred around a financial driver, the golden rule. This means that if you have other objectives other than saving money – for example reducing emissions, or making your home warmer – then it might not identify the right measures. If you fit into that category, again you could consider a green deal assessment alongside something a bit more detailed that will account for your particular objectives.

Lastly, on the finance mechanism, it is worth remembering that personal finance is cheaper than ever. Extending your mortgage, getting a personal loan, or even using your savings might represent a better deal for you*, especially if you are planning to stay in your home for a while. Not using the green deal will lose you some of the protections the scheme offers, but as well as offering a lower interest rate you’ll probably avoid some of the administration costs that are likely to inflate the prices paid by green deal customers. And you can still look out for installers that are green deal accredited, have good reviews on rating websites (YouGen, Rated People, MyBuilder, etc.), or are recommended by respected organisations such as Superhomes.

In summary, don’t write the green deal off. For some it will be very helpful. And it will improve over time as costs fall and experience is gained. But if you’re keen to get going on your retrofit, you should consider your options, and shop around. There are alternatives, and for many they will offer a much better (and more appropriate) deal.

*please note we are not and would never claim to be financial advisors! If considering taking out a loan, seek the advice of a qualified professional. If you want advice on what energy saving measures to spend that loan on, then you can talk to us!

This blog was first featured on ParityAtHome website.

Photo Credit: sludgegulper via Compfight cc

About the author: Chris Newman leads on development and delivery of the Parity Projects Home Energy Masterplan.

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

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Comments

2 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 4 March 2014 at 10:55 am

Hi Alick

The Green Deal doesn't provide free or subsidised installations. It is a loan scheme (with quite a high rate of interest) whereby the loan is repaid via your energy bill out of the savings in energy you make. You can read more about it here.

If any of the measures on your EPC qualify for the green deal loan then they will have a green tick in the 'available with green deal' column. If you are a tenant you would have to get the landlord's approval before going ahead, as the loan stays with the property.

There is another scheme called the energy company obligation which helps with more difficult measures such as solid wall insulation and might provide some subsidy. It also helps with basic measures if you're on certain benefits. Click the link above to read more about it.

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alick

alickComment left on: 2 March 2014 at 7:51 pm

I have two situations where I would like to find out if I am able to get some free or subsidised improvements done through the green deal.

First is my home.I recently had a solar pv installation fitted at my own expense and the EPC made some recomendations I would like to improve.Mostly the following.

1.Loft insulation (my loft has been boarded without any as far as I can see but I would be happy to use ordinary insulation as I do not use the space much.

2.solid wall insulation in a part of my property (the rest has cavity that has been done.)

3.Installation of two or three more radiators to heat this same part of the house which currently has two storage heaters.The rest of the house is already on gas ch so this would be easy.

4.floor insulation for my concrete floors downstairs.(the house was built in 1951 so doesn't have it)

5.back and front doors (and frame at front)do not have double glazing.

6.boiler is over 10 yrs old soc could be replaced with a condensing one.

7. flue gas heat recovery for the above.

8. changing of light fittings/lamps to low energy ones.

The second situation is my workshop which I rent.

It has a breeze block wall to about 3ft.and is a 60by 20ft lean to shed made of corrugated metal panels.

1.The floor is uninsulated concrete.

2.The roof  and walls I have insulated half of with reclaimed 2" cellotex.

3.I have no heating apart from a few electric fan heaters and am about to fit a wood burning stove.

4.The lighting is mostly large standard fluorescent tubes.

5.The doors are made of the same corrugated metal as the walls and I have stuffed some foam around the edges to help insulate them but they are still poor closures and their insides are as yet uninsulated.

For years I have been under the impression that I was not able to get anything because I am a self employed woodworker and the property is rented so I have been suffering and trying to do what I can with my meagre funds!

Can I get help with any of these issues??

Many Thanks

Alick

 

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