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Demand for Green Deal finance boost to fund retrofitting projects

The UK Green Building Council has called for the government to use its Green Investment Bank to provide finance for retrofit work, warning a “big question mark” hung over the issue of home improvement financing through the flagship Green Deal scheme.

Under government plans, home and business owners would get a grant for energy improvement schemes, to be paid back through savings on their bills.

Director of policy and communications John Alker told H&V News the council hoped the proposed bank could provide third-party finance to homeowners to upgrade their properties.

He said: “We envisage a third-party finance vehicle that can raise funds and administer them. An element of government under-writing would help to keep interest rates low.”

The government is due to finalise its intentions for a bank later this year. Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in October’s Spending Review that it would be seeded with £1 billion, but said the initial capital investment will only be made in the 2013/2014 tax year.

The UKGBC said it believed there was a far stronger role for construction companies to play in delivering bank funds. Mr Alker called on the government to show “strong leadership” in establishing the need for energy efficiency schemes to reassure homeowners that being energy efficient makes economic sense.

Communities minister Andrew Stunell (pictured) has outlined a scheme enabling homeowners and tenants to receive tailored advice on making their homes greener and saving money.

This would see details in energy performance certificates, display energy certificates and air conditioning reports made publicly available, so companies upgrading homes as part of the Green Deal can access information about the energy efficiency of properties with EPCs and deliver tailored advice.