The latest green living program from the government is known as Green Deal. This simple two-word phrase covers a long list of possible green improvements for homes within England and Wales.
The scheme has a collection of skilled professionals who have been certified and display the Green Deal Quality Mark on their documentation and web site. This green, house-shaped logo confirms their affiliation and qualification to offer Green Deal services.
Green Deal is made up of assessors, providers and installers. Outside of this is the governing body and other adjudicators to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
The first stage is to contact a Green Deal assessor. They are a representative who has been certified by the scheme to perform green inspections of properties in the UK. Their experience with green technologies has been verified and they were certified by the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body.
Finding an assessor in your area is quite simple. The oversight body has a web site located at greendealorb.co.uk which can help homeowners find an assessor in their area. They maintain a current list of all approved assessors within Green Deal.
Whilst an assessor is supposed to be impartial, an assessor can work for a larger organisation that not only performs assessments, but may provide loan financing for the scheme or has contractors who can perform the works that form part of the agreement. These relationships can be in the form of salary, commissions, discounts for other goods or other benefits. This would present a bit of a conflict. As a result, the assessor must notify applicants 24 hours ahead of any appointment if they have any such business relationships that might create a conflict of interest.
The assessor will produce an Advice Report at the end of the inspection. This comprises an energy performance certification that outlines the present & future energy-saving rating (A-G), and an occupancy assessment which details how the home owner & other occupiers use energy in the home.
The green deal assessor will run through a computerised check-list which is a step-by-step list of areas of the property to review. Each review can include heating systems, insulation, home appliances, solar window blinds or shutters, double glazing, or renewable energy, and more. The check-list is extensive.
At the end of the assessment, the assessor should provide the advice report to the home owner. The assessment itself is usually not more than £150 each, but this cost may be waived if the home owner accepts a referral to a provider of the assessor's choosing.
At this stage, the assessor may provide advance information on costs for the implementation of their suggested improvements. This information may just be their general advice or be presented as official costs from the company they represent, but in either case it will usually exclude finance charges.
A home owner should stick to a plan to not sign any agreement for Green Deal on the day of the inspection, saying, “I always sleep on it before making any big decision.” And then sticking to that position no matter what. If the assessor is trained in sales techniques then they may have received sales training where they are taught to have rebuttal for every customer objection. Holding to your original position is usually effective against such training.
It is always best to seek several quotes from providers using the Advice Report from the adviser. One of the providers can be the assessor's own, but it should not be the only one.