Last month the Government consulted on its flagship idea for improving the energy efficiency of UK homes, called the Green Deal.
The ‘golden rule’ concept of the Green Deal is simple. It is based around a loan that can be more than paid back through the energy saving measures it has been used to pay for.
Heating and hot water account for around three-quarters of energy used in the home and 13 per cent of the nation’s carbon emissions.
Improving energy efficiency of the leaky brick buildings we live in is one of the prime ways to manage ever-increasing energy demand and cut household utility bills.
The Green Deal will replace the current scheme called CERt which we all pay for through our electricity and gas bills (that is if you are on the gas main).
This ‘green’ tax costs each of us around £20 a year (this compares with typical annual energy bills of £1,300).
That is a 1.5 per cent contribution each household makes for something that significantly improves the quality of the UK housing stock, cushions customers against energy price hikes and makes the home more comfortable.
Therein lies the dilemma. should everyone pay for others to benefit from discounted loft and cavity wall insulation?
I hear the cries: “My house has solid walls,” or “I have already had my loft done and I had to pay for it,” and “I am on oil and I pay upfront.”
In a sense, the Green Deal will remove the ‘taxing Peter to pay Paul’ approach by attaching the loan to the beneficiary’s meter.
Yes, there will still be a social component to help those who cannot afford to take out a loan to pay for improvements to their home but this pot will be much reduced.
Ironically, the energy companies have not hit their home insulation targets set by Ofgem and are offering free or heavily discounted deals.
One energy company is even offering cash payments for referrals to particularly vulnerable households without adequate levels of insulation!
My advice to you then, is to grab the Yellow Pages and phone an accredited installer today. These prices will not last long.
What’s happening this month
The local councils across suffolk are offering FREE energy surveys and other services such as emergency boiler repairs and draught proofing to eligible households. This offer will run out at the end of March. Call the Winter Wellbeing helpline on 08456 037 686.
Tackling Flooding in suffolk, 1.30-4pm February 28, Horringer Community Centre, Horringer near Bury st Edmunds. This event is an opportunity for those most at risk from flooding to have a say and provide input to a county-wide strategy. To book your place email email@example.com or visit www.greensuffolk.org/news/tackling-floodingin-suffolk-have-your-say/
Peter Gudde is Environmental Management Officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, where he has worked since 1993.