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Grey launch day for Green Deal

28 January 2013

2:44 PM

28 January 2013

2:44 PM

The Tories in opposition were very keen on their ‘Green Deal’ for making existing housing stock energy efficient. It formed the cornerstone of their pledge when the Coalition formed to be the ‘greenest government ever’. It had its big full launch today, with new loans available for homeowners to insulate their properties and pay back the money through their energy bills.

The only problem is that the Green Deal isn’t quite the big all-singing all-dancing deal the government envisaged. The idea was that big businesses would lead the way in providing the scheme, but one of the leading retailers who expressed initial interest in the scheme, Marks and Spencer, isn’t involved. Sources tell me that the retailer decided the government’s offer wasn’t worth its while, although the company’s official line is as follows:

‘We are not a green deal provider but are monitoring the scheme’s progress. Through our energy business, M&S Energy, we already offer home insulation and renewable energy solutions and we’re always looking at ways to develop the business.’

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One of the big barriers for consumers is, unsurprisingly, the cost of the loans. The not-for-profit Green Deal Finance Company will charge consumers interest rates of 6.92 per cent, along with a £75-120 assessment fee, £63 set-up charge and a £20 annual fee (although a cashback scheme for early adopters aims to make this a little less daunting). Other green deal providers could charge interest of up to 9 per cent.

With interest rates higher than a mortgage, the deal is considerably less attractive than it could be. Another deterrent is the way the loans remain tied to the home when the owner leaves, which was, back in the days of the green deal’s conception, considered a good thing as only the person benefitting from the improvements would pay, but polling suggests that the idea of an additional debt attached to a house puts off possible new buyers. Sellers wishing to pay off the loan early will incur heavy penalties. The Great British Refurb Campaign found that 41 per cent of people would either decide against buying a property with a green deal loan attached to it, or seek independent advice. Only 7 per cent said they would be comfortable buying a house with such a loan on it.

One mercy is that this is a consumer-led scheme. In 2010, just a few months before the general election, Labour had launched plans for its own ‘Warm Homes’ programme, aimed at private and social-rented housing. The cost would have been £19 billion, funded by the energy companies, and at the time there were fears this would impact on all consumers’ bills. The cost of the Green Deal is funded by the savings in the energy bill of the individual who chose the improvements, and a ‘golden rule’ of the scheme is that the cost won’t outweigh the savings. But Labour’s Luciana Berger is warning today that ‘the reality for most people will be that the Green Deal ends up costing them more than they save’.

Assessments for the scheme started back in October. But there wasn’t a great rush: there have only been five so far. According to Greg Barker, though, there have been hundreds of applications today. Either way, this is clearly off to a slow-burning start.


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Show comments
  • SmithersJones2013

    So more Green Steal than Green Deal?

  • Daniel Maris

    Like most schemes put in by this Government (and indeed the last one) this is way more complicated than it needs to be.

    I would favour a green energy scheme built around stamp duty receipts. The purchaser of a property would in effect pay for green energy measures (e.g. insulation and PV panels) up to an agreed proportion. Any surplus would be invested in (a) national green energy generation schemes (with the home owner receiving an income through as a credit on their energy bills) or (b) a scheme to pay for installations in the properties of pensioners and others on a simple definition of poverty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    This is another EU farce.,………….http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/buildings/buildings_en.htm………..obviously all houses should be owned by The State and leased by residents…then the State will find it cannot afford its own policies and residents can live in incrwasingly squalid conditions as nothing happens because there is no drive for the State to bully the owners of the properties

  • In2minds

    Why is a man in a suit using a wood saw to cut insulation, do these people know what they are doing with our money?

    • telemaque

      It’s like Osborne uses recession to cut the deficit

  • Alan Rhys Evans

    I dont get this at all – why take out a loan to lag your roof when many of the Utility companies will do it for free? I had mine done by British Gas last year. They came and did a really nice job on the attic insulation and it didn’t cost me anything.

    They would have done cavity wall as well, but my house is really old with thick stone walls so that wasn’t an option for me.

    • Daniel Maris

      That’s a means tested benefit administered through the energy companies. The loans are essentially for people who don’t qualify.

  • Olaf

    Unless I’ve no access to credit I’ll be considerably better off just taking out and loan and doing it myself. And if I’ve no access to normal lines of credit I’ll be getting stiffed by the Gov’s own supplier who I am paying through taxes as well. Considering the potential savings on energy bills are probably significantly less then the charges levied on these loans I have to ask. WTF is the point of this?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The point is to get some doofus politico to be photographed up on a ladder sawing into something or another, so as to make out they’re “doing something”, and if it wastes a few millions, well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, can you?

      Well, you did ask.

      • Colonel Mustard

        He is not a “politico” but an architect and TV personality.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …even worse, then.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Come to find out, it’s even worse than the even worse. The poor lad isn’t even a lowly architect.

          Tut tut, field marshal.

    • http://twitter.com/LoganDon don logan

      Quite and if you’re skint and on your uppers, lagging the loft is going to be quite low down your list of things to do.

    • telemaque

      Correct
      This is a plot by the Coalition to toady up to the green lobby while lining the pockets of their city friends

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      No they will use Building Control to stop you doing it yourself as with Part P and other rubbish like CERTASS and FENSA

  • dalai guevara

    Oh my word – this ‘greenest government ever’ tripe, reminds me of Gordon’s pledge to build nothing but zero-carbon by 2013. Guess what, it is 2013 and the product the construction industry turns out is just dismal with regard to standards and expected longevity. Proof that there is no real interest in producing quality – soon, even this sector will see an influx of German construction standards delivered by a highly-skilled workforce familiar with prefab sequences that bear no resemblance with what we can currently deliver at that price.

    • Olaf

      They can’t even build houses with rooms of dimensions a normal person would want. The prefer to build small blocks of cells to store workers.

      • dalai guevara

        Remove 10% of habitable volume every decade, this is what you end up with:

        http://www.barratthomes.co.uk/

        • itdoesntaddup

          It’s quite clear they regard their market as BTL landlords – about the only ones who’ll overpay for new housing, because they’ll be subsidised by Housing Landlord Benefit propping up rents.

        • Daniel Maris

          We’ll end up with Italian dimensions soon – but at least in Italy you can live al fresco most of the year. In the UK, if you are lucky you get about 6 weeks a year you can spend a lot of time outdoors.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes – we are a long way from the Parker Morris standards of the 1950s. Even the idea of having home standards sounds quaint.

  • Rhoda Klapp2

    Rhoda’s pile of money theory strikes again. A scheme designed not for the consumer but for the provider, based on a fine piece of reverse logic that says to prevent global warming we need to save CO2 and that means you need to pay more for energy and simultaneously in case you get too cold you need to insulate your house. But isn’t it supposed to get warm? With the global warming, I mean. Never mind rhoda, just pay up.

    • dalai guevara

      Rhoda, the reverse logic is that if you do not favour war-for-oil scenarios, you must become more efficient and produce more of your requirements locally.

      We have long moved on from Al Gore – Bjorn Lomborg and his fellows have demonstrated the effectiveness of counter measures (if any are required at all) ought to inform any action taken. I have not insulted my and other homes to save the planet, I have insulated them above standard because it saves me money!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        ” I have not insulted my and other homes to save the planet…”

        .

        That is the closest thing to a constructive statement and activity that you’ve posted here. Congratulations.

        And mind, keep it up, not insulting homes.

        • dalai guevara

          Hahaha, I have my very own human spell checker, and he cost me nowt!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Now, if you’d be so kind as to clarify, are you yourself shunning the home insults as a means to save the planet, or is it that you’ve somehow been thwarted from insulting the homes and saving the planet?

            • Daniel Maris

              Viceroy,

              There is a TV advert in the UK which shows the warning signs of a man having a stroke, as he begins to speak incoherently, makes wild incomprehensible noises and adopts a glassy eyed “not there” expression. For some reason, your post reminded me of that.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, I’m sure the voices in your head tell you lots of things.

                Mostly about windmills, apparently.

                • M.Highfield

                  The most simple thing about the Green Deal has been missed in the blurb. People have not been told that the payback is via your electric meter tafiff, and the Goldenrule measure in place is that your utility bill AFTER green deal measures will be LESS than the tariff paid before. You do not pay back in the same way as a bank loan by some monthly fee, it is done through your energy bill, which will be less. So it is a total no brainer, I will be racing to get a green deal package. Also if someone is looking at buying your home with a Green Deal on it, they are not picking up your debt, they are just paying the utility bill associated for the measures implemented on the house

      • Rhoda Klapp2

        I can understand insulating to keep warm. I would do it anyway, up to the point of diminishing returns. I would not subsidise it for others. I do not see the point in insulation so that it doesn’t get warmer. When they told me the likely effect of a doubling of CO2 would be to raise the average temperature of Oxon to that of Bordeaux, I said bring it on.

        On a related point, I want a contract with the electric and water people that says you provide me with as much of your product as I want. Don’t come creeping to me saying you haven’t got electricity or tell me I have to save water because you can’t provide it when it falls free from the sky. And when you fail to provide it, I don’t want some smart meter clicking me off for a while, or a hosepipe ban, I want a refund. Begone with austerity provision of services in a rich world.

        • dalai guevara

          Perhaps this is just a sign that water (even in Britain) is becoming a resource that is increasingly difficult to manage – unlimited provision at fixed minimum cost, which nation can still deliver such a wasteful standard? If we all installed dual flush toilets, and indeed zero-water urinals in public facilities, we would observe water requirements drop substantially to sustainable levels.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            You are as uninformed about water utilities and usage as you are of any other.

            • dalai guevara

              What part of stalking do you enjoy most? Don’t explain it to me, explain it to Ulysses.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                What part of blathering incoherently about subject matters of which you’re completely ignorant do you enjoy most? And don’t explain it to me.

                • dalai guevara

                  Incoherently? You seem to get it as you it takes you no time at all to demonstrate to everyone that you know zilch about domestic water consumption and the effects on the system.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Watch out. You are making it very difficult to decide which one of you I dislike most.

                  (Nah, no contest really, The rude and abusive Canadian wins hands down. You are awful, but I quite like you.)

                • Daniel Maris

                  Let’s face it…compared with staring out across the blank Canadian prairies, hurling repetitive insults must seem quite exciting.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you’re babbling and whining incoherently about this and so much else.

                  And you seem to have discovered your soulmate here. 😉

                • dalai guevara

                  Ahh bless, a wink – glad to see you are not taking all this to heart too much.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …not to worry. Little you say is to be taken to anything, heart or otherwise.

                  As with your soulmate. 😉

              • Daniel Maris

                Sorry, Dalai – I can’t agree with you there.

                If a drunk insults you from his vantage point of the gutter, you don’t call him a stalker.

          • Rhoda Klapp2

            No, they could find all the water I need if they made the investment. Managed shortages and fashionable austerity are no good to the nation. There is no shortage of water. It falls from the sky in abundance. And when some monoploy old pal’s outfit make a contract with me and cannot deliver, I want my money back. And you can stick your dual-flush toilet where the sun don’t shine. Swindon.

            • Daniel Maris

              I’m sure if we put our minds to it we could ship enough water from north to south in converted oil tankers (250,000 tonnes a time).

              I’d make that about 18 tankers a day to feed the whole of the water needs of the south , assuming a population of 30 million. Of course you would need much less than that even in a drought. Say 10 tankers or a fleet of 20 (some will be at sea each day) .

              Assuming a cost of £100 million per tanker that would be £2 billion. But I am sure that would be far cheaper than building north-south pipelines, massive tunnels, new reservoirs and pumping stations, though there would be some additional infrastructure costs.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, I’m sure you’re sure, but then you’re ignorant and uneducated, so water resources engineering is as beyond you as any other discipline.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Well that wasn’t really a riposte was it? That was an assertion devoid of meaningful content. What are you trying to say? That tankers can’t carry 250,000 tonnes of water. That such tankers don’t cost £100 million. That water consumption for 30 million people in the south is the equvalent of 18 tankers per day?

                  How about querying some facts before you query conclusions…or is that too much like rational debate for you?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  If I wanted ” rational debate” re these topics, I’d first have to find somebody who isn’t ignorant and uneducated re them. With you, it’s a waste of time, similar to all your windmill blathering.

            • dalai guevara

              Rhoda
              I understand the monopoly argument and ask myself a different question: why this is privatised.

              The saving outcomes still apply.
              Domestic water consumption average per person per day in litre:
              UK 151 (metered supply reduces consumption by 15%)
              Germany 127
              Belgium 107
              Denmark 131
              http://tinyurl.com/adumzrj

              I run my home on a 70l pppd average, as I have pulled out all the stops, which includes rainwater harvesting. If dual flush is not attractive for you, just put a brick into all of your cisterns. It’s the low tech option to getting to continental European levels (and resolving most supply issues). I know, it’s not your problem and so on…yes it is.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well done, and you and your bricks have a jolly ol’ time.

                And leave the rest of us out of it, if you please.

                • dalai guevara

                  I have just SAVED you 22l out of your 150l of daily water consumption. If you had a meter, that would be a 15% saving on your annual water bill, possibly £100. How much gin could you buy for that?

                  A thank you will suffice.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I think the voices in your head are just as befuddling to you as the other guy’s.

                • Rhoda Klapp2

                  Not if i have to flush twice or more. In the US people are smuggling in canadian bathroom fittings and installing them illegally to get round this daft law. There’s plenty of water. I don’t even use any. They get it all back. So why can’t they deliver, as a condition of them having a monopoly?

                • dalai guevara

                  Ah yes, I see. The old ‘privatisation when no competition can be expected’ conundrum…it’s a sell out.

                  Watch INFRASTRUCTURE go private next. All of it. We can no longer afford to maintain even the status quo. But then again, are those debts my debts (I have explained on other pages that they are not)? It’s the biggest con in modern history, and the citizens of the UK are complicit in ignoring it.

              • Rhoda Klapp2

                With my problems I need all the flush i can get.

              • Olaf

                I reduce my water consumption by fertilising the local Green Party activists gardens with yesterday’s lunch. For some reason they forget their commitment to water conservation when I drop my shorts even when I point out my newspaper can be recycled.

                • dalai guevara

                  Why not go run a pig farm in Denmark? You would assimilate easily…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        Maybe we should simply train our own Muslim Suicide Bombers and take the oil we need

        • dalai guevara

          ….you describe our century-long tradition of interventions in Persia quite accurately.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree to the extent I think the real emphasis should be on getting energy bills down. You do that by turning homes into energy generators rather than energy consumers.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, you do that by not forcing the energy bill payers to have to subsidize uneconomic nonsense like windmills.

        • Daniel Maris

          Yep, I know that’s your view Viceroy.

          Onshore wind turbines are cheaper than nuclear and on a par with coal. They are more expensive than gas, true, but currently we don’t produce cheap gas in the UK, and we have yet to see that we can.

          I think onshore wind is certainly part of a sustainable energy solution for us.

          Also, you will love this British solution to the energy storage problem:

          *ttp://www.highview-power.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Into-thin-air-Storage-salvation-for-green-energy-02-January-2013-New-Scientist.pdf

          • dalai guevara

            He will not listen. No, he will listen but cannot process the facts you list.

            • Daniel Maris

              I only aver that he CAN process the facts…but he CHOOSES not to.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, that’s not my “view”.

            You see, you who are ignorant and uneducated re value engineering have “views”. We who are educated and understand these issues understand that if you want to decrease energy bills, you can’t force bill payers to subsidize uneconomic nonsense.

            It’s not about “views”, unless you’re ignorant and uneducated, and then it’s all about “views”.

            • Daniel Maris

              I note how you never acknowledge the tremendous British advance in energy storage technology. Clearly “does not compute” for you.

              BTW I didn’t know that you tar sands folks like to sell energy to buyers at the cheapest price possible. I was under the naive conception that you tried to sell it at the HIGHEST price possible. My bad, as you North Americans say. Clearly I am a complete dullard and have completely failed to understand how the economic system works. In future I will remember to say to myself: “Oil and gas folks are cuddly types who only want to sell their energy to us at the cheapest price possible.”

              Is that OK?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Son, you wouldn’t know what is tremendous or non-existent re energy storage or much else, simply because you’re ignorant and uneducated.

                I’m amused at what the voices are telling you in that post, by the way. Tell the voices that yes, it’s OK if they’re amusing.

              • Rhoda Klapp2

                Try supporting some form of energy that doesn’t need a direct subsidy from unfashionable forms. All your windmills are subsidy farms. They would not be built if they were not.

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