Green Deal Home Improvement Fund to end
Earlier this month, the UK Government confirmed that it will no longer be financing the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. On 30th September 2015 (or sooner if the funds run out), the Green Deal will close. This is a significant move on the Government’s part regarding its household energy efficiency programmes; however, during a time when the Government is having to make cuts, for many it is not a surprise that the Green Deal is to end.
Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced that “We [the Government] are on the side of the hardworking families and businesses – which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal.”
The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund offers homeowners (who meet the requirements) the opportunity to claim back money after making energy-saving improvements to their property. Properties need a Green Deal Assessment and the improvement works must be carried out by an approved Green Deal installer or provider.
With the European Union setting emissions targets which the UK and other member states must meet over the coming decades, it is apparent that a replacement policy or scheme will be required to help finance improvements in home energy. Not only must the UK’s carbon emissions be significantly reduced, but homeowners also want to see a reduction in their household fuel bills. Both of these aims can be met when energy efficient products are installed.
Amber Rudd continued, “It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with [the Government] to make new policy and build a system that works.” While the withdrawal of this source of finance for energy efficient instalments may be seen by some as a significant negative within the renewables industry, other measures are being brought about which are designed to encourage end-users to turn towards more efficient heating systems. For example, the forthcoming changes being implemented by the Energy-related Product Directive will set minimum efficiency levels that certain products must meet. Furthermore, an energy labelling system is being introduced for space and water heaters, labels which will clearly signify to end-users the efficiency class of a product. Not only will this Directive help to remove the least efficient products from the market, but it should also help shape end-users’ attitudes towards energy efficient products by raising awareness and understanding.
While the end of the Green Deal may seem a blow to the industry in the short-term, it was not (and is not) the only policy which can change attitudes. Green, efficient products which are reliable and cost-saving can prove far more sustainable and cost-effective for homeowners years and years after installation.