With the recent furore surrounding delays to the Renewable Heat Incentive and proposed cuts to Feed-in Tariffs, the development of the proposed Green Deal programme may have slipped many people’s attention.
Back in 2010 the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a summary of the government’s proposals for the Green Deal, which consisted of mainly high-level aims and ambitions for the scheme, with very little detail of how it would actually work or a clearly defined scope.
Further to this document there has been significant press interest, but again with little in the way of firm guidance or detail made available in the public arena.
However, recent weeks have seen a flurry of activity in relation to all things Green Deal.
Firstly, the government’s 2011 Energy Bill has received Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament, which is a key milestone for scheme implementation.
In addition, the British Standards Institute, with sponsorship from the DECC, has held a consultation on PAS (Publicly Availably Specification) 2030. This consultation ended on 24 October.
PAS 2030 looks set to become a highly significant UK benchmark and will become the installation standard for the Green Deal. The draft provided for consultation included significant details of expected installer standards, eligible technologies and required standards of process management.
On the positive side, it is interesting to see the breadth of technologies which may be eligible for Green Deal loans. Rudimentary energy-saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and improved glazing were expected to be the core focus of the scheme.
However, PAS 2030 sets requirements for high-efficiency boilers, solar thermal, combined heat and power (CHP), heat pumps and a range of other renewable technologies. Furthermore, the confirmation that the proposed scheme will be open to the commercial property sector is welcome.
Less positive though are the proposed requirements for certification. We already have a multitude of competent persons schemes in operation to assess and certify installer quality.
The PAS 2030 draft outlines yet a further accreditation scheme, potentially for each energy-saving measure; compliance with which will be mandatory in order to operate under the Green Deal.
Not only does this represent a further cost to business for those installers who want to deliver Green Deal schemes, it also raises concerns over timescale.
It is the government’s intention for the first Green Deal installations to commence in autumn 2012. For this to happen, accredited certification bodies must be approved by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) and up to speed with carrying out assessment of contractors.
Given the initial difficulties and delays suffered by the comparable Microgeneration Certification Scheme, this may prove to be a tall order.
In principle, the Green Deal has the potential to provide a welcome boost to the building services industry, but in order for the scheme to be a success it is critical that access to funding does not become a tortuous exercise with unnecessary red tape.
Jeff House is applications manager for Baxi Commercial Division