I attended the first Zero Carbon Hub Annual Conference at Kings Place today. It provided a useful roundup of the thinking of the Hub, its members and the housing minister. The big announcement of the day from the housing minister was that the Green Deal will be used to fund allowable solutions for newbuild housing. There is little or no information to back this up, and I imagine, that even as I write this, panicked civil servants are scurrying around Whitehall to try and assess what this might mean. There is probably a lottery in the corridors of the DCLG to decide who gets to work late and pick up the pieces when Grant Shapps has a speaking engagement.
The people I spoke to about it during the day were mixed in their views, most developers thought that it would simply complicate an already complex puzzle and be too difficult to implement. Would the Green Deal just pay for some of the measures? Would it pay for allowable solutions on the buildings only, could it pay for community infrastructure when the legal instrument is intended to allow the money to be claimed back from an individual home owner/occupier.
My feeling on the matter is that such a measure at least makes it obvious to the occupant that there are additional energy saving measures that have been installed on the building for their benefit, and they have a stake in making sure that the measure works and is doing its job. Otherwise the occupant is rarely an active participant in sustainability and simply sees it as a freebie that they bought as part of buying a home. Remember that energy saving measures are not part of any mortgage valuation, so why should a resident get it for nothing when the housebuilder has paid for it?