The first official Green Deal (GD) figures have been released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) amid suggestions that the general public is failing to take up the funding options available.
The key highlights of the results, released today (27 June), are as follows:
- GD assessments: 38,259 were lodged up to 16 June
- GD plans: There were 245 in the system for individual properties as of 16 June. Of these, 241 were ‘new’ GD plans and four were ‘pending’
- Cashback vouchers: 5,118 had been issued up to 16 June. Of these, 968 cashback vouchers had been paid (following installation of measures) up to 16 June with a value of £263,452. Most of the vouchers paid to date have been for boiler replacements
- Measures: Provisional figures, which are subject to further checks by Ofgem, show there were 81,798 measures installed under ECO up to the end of April (measures data takes longer to report and there is therefore an additional lag of one month) - the majority of these were for loft insulation (56% of all ECO measures), cavity wall insulation (33%) and boiler upgrades (10%)
- Contracts: £131 million worth of contracts had been let through ECO brokerage up to 16 June
- Accreditation: 206 GD Assessor organisations and the 1,798 GD Advisors they employ had been accredited up to 16 June.
Neil Schofield, head of government and external affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, said: “The official figures tell a sorry tale, but we still believe the scheme can work if it is reformed and installers are made a central part of the sales process.
“As it currently stands, the Green Deal is a great idea but tragically flawed, because it cuts straight across the heating industry supply chain, rather than working with it. We need to drop the need for an assessment, which is acting as a barrier to new boilers being financed under the Green Deal. The boiler is a key element because if it is financed under the Green Deal, it can be used to encourage the homeowner to sign up for other energy-saving measures, such as insulation.
“Secondly, the government needs to reform the cash-back element of the scheme which is limited to Green Deal providers only. Installers won’t pass on boiler leads to providers because of the fear they will lose the job. We need to go back to the boiler scrappage model which offered an easily reclaimable voucher.”
John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, agreed that the cash-back offering should be expanded. He said: "The cash-backs and incentives that are currently allocated to Green Deal alone should be widened to cover all generic energy efficiency retrofits, giving consumers the freedom to choose the most appropriate solution for them."
He also argued: “It is time for the government to open its eyes. If there is to be any chance of meeting the '14 million homes by 2020' target, a tangible and compelling incentive is urgently required. For me, the most effective solution would be linking Stamp Duty levels to a property’s energy efficiency, as this would encourage both the buyer and vendor to consider energy performance as part of the sales process. Indeed, this would incentivise estate agents, surveyors and even mortgage advisors to promote energy efficiency retrofits, offering even more bites at the cherry.”
Thomas Heldgaard, managing director at Rockwool UK, seemed to hold more optimism. “While there will be some disappointment that Green Deal and ECO have yet to meet the government’s ambitions, there is no doubt these schemes provide a significant framework for real, long-term progress towards the UK meeting its carbon targets,” he said. “They will also see the regeneration of run-down communities and increased employment opportunities.
“Rockwool is confident that, with a few minor adjustments, people will recognise the significant opportunity this scheme represents. Rockwool urges doomsayers to back the Green Deal and ECO and, like us, develop the products and partners to make the policy a success for local communities across Britain.”
Minister for Energy & Climate Change Greg Barker said: "Today we've seen that 81,798 installations have taken place with the support of the new Energy Company Obligation, helping those most in need or with particularly hard-to-treat properties – but this is just the start. The 38,259 Green Deal assessments are also a clear sign that many consumers genuinely want to make their homes more efficient, but we are keen to do more.
"Seventy-eight percent of people who have received a Green Deal Advice Report, following a Green Deal assessment, said they had got, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed. This too is a great sign.
"Getting software systems running and finance into place for Green Deal plans to be signed has taken time, so the numbers here are lower. The very first wave of Green Deal Finance Providers have only just got their individual finance terms and conditions in place and gone live with their software systems. However, now the first five are up and running, the good news is that we expect up to 50 authorised finance providers to be active by the end of the year, massively increasing the access to finance in the market.
"It will take time as this brand new market finds its legs, but I now expect the number of plans signed to start steadily rising."
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “Government is doing its best to portray the Green Deal as a success, but it’s now time for honest debate on how to inspire greater uptake of energy-efficiency improvement work in order to cut carbon emissions and protect households against rising energy prices. We need to see a range of fiscal incentives to stimulate a long-term increase in demand for this type of work, including a targeted VAT cut and a reduction in Stamp Duty Land Tax for the most energy-efficient properties.”