Green Deal goes on trial.

Green Deal trials begin across the UK

Published:  14 July, 2011

UK: Businesses such as Homebase and B&Q will soon begin home insulation trials to gauge the likely consumer takeup of the Green Deal, which is due to start in 2012.

The Government has announced that these trials will "make it easier for people to insulate their homes and reduce fuel bills". The energy-efficiency trials, many of which will include joint working with local authorities, will begin in September and will test how best to encourage people to take up the Deal.

The Green Deal, which will start in Autumn 2012 and is currently being discussed in Parliament, will allow households to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost, and repay through the expected savings on energy bills.

The trials are outlined in a new report from the Government's Behavioural Insights Team - known as the 'nudge unit' - and will be carried out and evaluated in time for the national roll out of the Green Deal.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "The Green Deal's going to be a real hit and will be a fantastic way for people to upgrade their draughty and energy-wasting homes. But there are currently too many barriers standing in the way of people upgrading their homes - the cost, the hassle, and the lack of trust in the people who install the kit.

"It's great that high street names are getting involved at this early stage to road-test these ideas about how to make it easier for people to take up the Green Deal and insulate their homes from rising energy prices."

Examples of the trials going ahead in September include B&Q and Sutton Council, which will be considering offering a subsidised loft clearance service to test whether removing the 'hassle' factor of insulation motivates people to make efficiency improvements.

The unwanted contents of the loft clearance will be donated to local charities. B&Q will also test the impact of offering collective purchasing discounts to households for buying energy efficient products.

Homebase and Carillion will team up with a local authority to test the impact of offering immediate rewards to residents for purchasing energy efficiency measures. The offer will include a one month's council tax holiday or vouchers to spend in store.

Another trial will focus on helping people to reduce energy consumption through better information, as the government is planning to work with British Gas and Alert Me to investigate which channels of communication most effectively motivate consumers to save energy.

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