The news from the BSI that only one in five homeowners are set to participate in the Green Deal raises two key questions: why there is such a lack of interest in the Government’s ‘flagship’ green policy, and whose job it is to rectify this problem?
There has been a lot of criticism over the Government’s apparent lack of preparedness for the Green Deal, and in particular what the Coalition is or isn’t doing to incentivise the uptake of energy efficiency measures. We need to appreciate, however, that we can’t expect them to do it all for us. In reality, the industry has an equally important role to play in generating interest and consumer buy-in.
While the core principle of the Green Deal, the Golden Rule, is a valuable incentive in removing the financial risk associated with energy efficiency home improvements, it is not the be all and end all when it comes to creating customer demand. A significant barrier to desire for uptake is also the ‘hassle-factor’: the fear of disruption associated with having improvement works done.
We, the industry, need to educate consumers – whether they be private homeowners or social landlords – that most providers are eager to make the Green Deal work, and will go the extra mile to ensure a customer’s project goes smoothly. Whether by offering advice on preparation for installations or providing removals services as part of the installation package, there are ways that installers can mitigate disruption caused by improvement works. Ultimately, however, we also need to communicate to consumers that the benefits of increased comfort and reduced energy bills far outweigh any perceived hassle.
Of course we need clarity from the Government on the details of the Green Deal to put us in a position to deliver these services to our customers – but the onus for creating demand and desire is on us just as much as it is the Government. The industry needs to offer support and guidance, show we understand the customer journey and have the requisite skills to provide trustworthy advice and an integrated service from start to finish. Only by doing this will homeowners have the understanding and desire to get behind the Green Deal.
Vince Matthews is head of marketing at SIG Energy Management.