by Mark Johnston
The need to reduce carbon emissions has moved energy efficiency to the top of the agenda of every government in the world.
The green deal initiative has been designed to give consumers access to energy efficiency improvements to their properties that they may have otherwise not been able to afford.
Under the new initiative energy efficiency improvements with have no up front costs, instead the cost will be repaid over 25 years using savings from fuel bills.
The scheme is aimed at making up to 14 million homes more efficient by 2020, through insulation, draught proofing, double glazing and other measures which are designed to reduce the energy usage.
The initiative is intended to help meet the national targets for reducing energy dependence and to reduce the carbon footprint. The UK government target is to reduce these emissions by 2050.
Greg Barker, climate change minister, said “the green deal is the governments flagship energy saving plan to transform the country’s homes to make them warmer and cheaper to run”.
The plan is due to be launched in the autumn of 2012 and a few firms such as Marks and Spencers, B&Q, Tesco and British Gas have already expressed an interest in marketing the scheme and also providing the finance.
The way the deal works is that every home requires an energy performance certificate (EPC). This involves a qualified and accredited assessor conducting a through inspection of as property to provide an overview of the heating system, hot water system and construction information. All this then helps to identify the efficiency rating of the home, its environmental impact and estimated energy usage.
Once the report identifies a potential area for improvement home owners can then apply for funding for the work to be carried out, this is as long as the energy and cost saving from the improvement is more than the actual cost outlay to undertake the work.
The improvement measures will then be paid for by attachments to a property’s utility and energy bills and this will continue until the initial cost has been repaid.
From April 2012 the report is to be redesigned to further promote the green deal, it will show estimated fuel costs as the home currently stands, how much these could be reduced by if efficiency was improved, what actions can be taken and whether these are included in the green deal.
Some experts however have stated that the only obvious flaw with the change is that when they assess fuel costs in the future they will have no idea how much those cost will rise to therefore making it inaccurate.
While the scheme on a whole is welcome, there are major concerns. Housing and building groups have warned the government that the green deal is in danger of not succeeding unless a series of obstacles are dealt with.
A recent report has suggested that it may be difficult to encourage the kind of widespread take up that is necessary fro this scheme to be successful.
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