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Seminar outlines issues surrounding Green Deal

H&V News has attended the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum keynote seminar, held on Wednesday 12th March 2013.

Opening the seminar was Laura Sandys MP who is also PPS to energy minister Greg Barker.

The first half of the seminar looked at the take-up of the Green Deal in the first six weeks since contracts were able to be signed and if based on these results, predictions that the Green Deal is to enjoy limited success in 2013 were well-founded.

Association for the Conservation of Energy director Andrew Warren, who is also chairman for the Green Deal Advisory Forum, argued that the UK needs more showrooms to show the public how you can turn old homes into ‘super homes’.

This was just one of the many ideas suggested to help Green Deal become a success for all those involved.

Knauf Insulation managing director John Sinfield argued that the Green Deal had been mismanaged thus far and that there needed to be more certainty for investors and companies before they get involved.

He argued that the four issues the DECC need to work on before people will take up Green Deal, are warranties, software, finance and driving demand.

It was argued that there are too many challenges at the moment in relation to the national personal finance scheme and the accreditation of suppliers and installers.

It was made clear at the seminar that finance is key to getting Green Deal off to a better start, a point emphasised by Bevan Brittan partner David Hutton. He said the cost of assessment needs to be taken into consideration, especially if an assessment does not lead to a Green Deal plan.

Green Deal Oversight Body programme manager Jonathan Harley however, argued that there has been a significant increase in the number of Green Deal assessors and that there is definitely more interest in the scheme overall.

Concerns were expressed over whether the expected financial savings would be equal or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill. After-care was suggested to ensure that people are not left confused after the installer has left their home.

Increasing simplicity of communication between energy saving companies and consumers was also suggested.

A question was raised about whether the Green Deal had been pitched correctly to the public as most are concerned about the comfort of their home rather than energy saving. It was also asked whether the term ‘Green Deal’ was the correct title to use for the scheme, implying that the word ‘green’ may  exclude those who are not interested in being energy efficient.

It was agreed by most that Green Deal will be a slow burn but if the government can clarify the targets they want to meet, erase scepticism from the market place and simplify communication with the consumer, it could potentially become a ‘game changer’ for energy efficiency in the UK.

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