Green Deal is so new that not so many people have heard about it yet. Previous home improvement schemes and green deals like CERT which offers free insulation programs for qualifying applicants, are still in operation and so there is some overlap presently.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) initiated the scheme and recently the prime minister, David Cameron, voiced his early enthusiasm for the scheme that has so far not had as many takers as some expected. Two hundred million pounds have been put up by the government to help promote the new scheme and get the word out to a wider audience. It is still very early days for the brand new scheme that is intended to run for decades and help to renew older buildings in England and Wales.
The same DECC was talking up Green Deal late January when it said that it believed the insulation industry would be one of the biggest benefactors with the burgeoning demand causing a 60,000 surge in employment in that sector.
Green Deal Specifics
The scheme provides for up to ten thousand pounds to be loaned out to a homeowner who wishes to upgrade their home to improve its energy-efficiency. This is charged at an interest rate of at least 7 percent, which is higher than the more competitive home improvement loans available elsewhere. Unlike home improvement loans, these are offered by unusual providers like British Gas and Npower, not banks and building societies. The loan is also connected to the property and not the home owner, so it stays with the property on the utility bill until it is repaid in full. If the property is sold, the new owner is then responsible for the repayments even though they never ordered the works be carried out; it is an unusual contractual situation and unique to the Green Deal terms.
An energy assessment needs to be carried out for each home, so a Green Deal Advisor is sent in to correct review the property and its appliances for where improvements can be made. These must be significant enough to at least cover the cost of the improvements with the energy cost savings. A second assessment is provided to the homeowner with a list of suggested actions that they can take themselves to reduce their energy footprint. The sort of things this might include are turning off lights in rooms you are not spending time in, turning off a PC rather than leaving it on standby mode 24/7, etc.
A Provider will review the Green Deal Advice Report that was submitted by the Advisor, and they will then put forward a proposal to the homeowner. This includes the planned list of works and appliances to replace, the principal cost, interest, total repayable and the time period to repay. Repayments are taken from the utility bill rather than separately charged for. Nonpayment could mean being disconnected from the electricity or gas supply.
Approved Green Deal Service Installers are then hired directly by the Provider to carry out the agreed improvements to the home. The Provider pays for the works directly, rather than supply the loan to the homeowner and expect them to do so. This removes the possibility of abuse where some home owners might borrow for home improvements but choose to spend the money on something else.
Once the agreed improvements have been completed, the Provider stays on as the primary customer service contact for all future inquiries about the status of the Green Deal loan.
The oversight body is actually Gemserv, which is rather controversial because it is not government run, but instead owned jointly by the largest six energy companies in the UK.
Green Deal has yet to receive a great deal of publicity but it is bound to come into the public consciousness soon because of the present popularity of the go green / Eco products and previous green deals. The terms are quite specific, but will not be suitable for all home owners, so it is best to review everything carefully.