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Will the green deal pay for a boiler replacement in my kitchen extension?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 August 2013 at 9:36 am

Q: I'm planning on extending the kitchen and updating the boiler. We live in a 20s house with no cavity and a gas Aga running the heating. Can I access money from the green deal? I spoke to the energy efficiency people as well as British Gas and they said I'd have to wait to complete the work, then assess the newly refurbished house, then redo it, which seems illogical. Is there some sort of consultancy service that can advise what's the best way to make home improvements?

A: I put your question to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which is responsible for the green deal policy. This is what they said:

"It seems as though it is correct.  In order to get a green deal assessment you need to be able to have an EPC using the current RdSAP software and the Green Deal Occupancy Assessment.  For this to happen the building (or extension, in this case) needs to be in place before an assessment can take place – therefore the work would need to be completed before a Green Deal assessment could be completed and recommend (if appropriate) a boiler."

You ask what's the best way to make home improvements, and the answer will depend on what your priorities are. Is it about minimising the cost, or about minimising disruption, reducing your carbon emissions, lowering your energy bills or probably balance of several things?

While the powers that be recognise that when you're fitting a new kitchen or bathroom is a good time to include some energy saving measures, the green deal doesn't seem to be flexible enough to enable this in your case.

The EPC focuses on energy savings, so it will measure the performance of your Aga, and compare it with a modern condensing gas boiler, and if the energy savings are great enough, will recommend that the change is eligible for a green deal plan. This means that you would get the boiler installed with no upfront cost. However, you would pay the money off through savings in your energy bill over a fixed period at a fixed rate of interest.

So you can see that there is a bit of upfront uncertainty in that process. Phasing your extension project to access the green deal funding may lead to increased cost and increased hassle and disruption. If you can, it would certainly be simpler to pay for the boiler by another means.

There are independent consultants who advise on how to make your building project energy efficient. The benefits of using one of them is that unlike an EPC which solely focuses on the cost of energy per square meter in a property, they will ask you which criteria are important to you, and tailor their advice to fit with that. You can read my experience of trying both here.

More information on the green deal from YouGen

YouGen guide to the green deal

Is the green deal right for me?

How to get started on the green deal

How do I pay for energy efficiency improvements to my home?

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Comments

1 comments - read them below or add one

Linn Rafferty

Linn Rafferty from JTec Energy PerformanceComment left on: 16 August 2013 at 5:06 pm

hello Cathy

This is an interesting question, and one that DECC really should sort out. Green Deal Advisors have been trained to ask about customer's plans for work on their house, and to help them consider how to manage the timing of the work. Surely Green Deal finance should be able to cope with this? 

I do understand that there's a real difficulty with assessments when building work is in progress. If the work has already started, and an EPC and Occupancy Assessment are carried out before the building work is complete, the finished building work would be very likely to count as a 'material change'.  Where a material change has been made to the property before the Green Deal Plan is entered into, the Green Deal Provider may not be able to use the assessment report to produce quotes.  However, this doesn't seem to be the case for this customer.

Maybe the answer that came from DECC assumed that the buiding work had already started?  Is it worth checking that with DECC?  

 

By the way - please don't confuse the Green Deal advice assessment with the EPC process.  Yes, the EPC focuses on cost per square metre, but a Green Deal assessment does not, and enables the advice to be tailored to the needs of the client.

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