A raft of new documentation was released this week by DECC on the detail of the Green Deal. Three separate documents were published on
– the measures that the Green Deal will cover (this document has been removed)
I have already blogged on the Energy Company Obligation here, so I won’t deal with it in this post.
The measures that the Green Deal will cover is by far the most interesting publication insofar as it sets out the level of ambition or potential scope of work to be carried out. The message up to this point has been mixed, mainly suggesting that insulation of hard to treat dwellings was going to be the main focus of the work. DECC appears to have listened to feedback from the idustry on this point because the headline statement from the document is that
” the appropriate measures will differ from property to property”
This will account for the fact that on an average street, most properties differ wildly in their fabric performance and energy use. A property converted into flats will be very different from a House in Multiple Occupation(HMO) and from a family home, and even between flats and family homes with different behaviour patterns.
To attract Green Deal Finance, measures will have to achieve three things, to be eligible according to a DECC list, to be suitable for the property and to meet the Golden Rule(i.e. pay for themselves over an agreed period)
Interestingly, renewable energy generation has not been excluded from the Green Deal. This offers the expectation that the installation of PV or other microtech could be funded through the Green Deal in exchange for the FiT or RHI payments.
So, provided the measures are eligible, appropriate and fundable they can be installed.
The process for selection of measures is likely to be one where a property is surveyed by a Green Deal Assessor (an upgraded DEA assessor?) and the SAP software will produce the list of eligible and appropriate measures. The accredited Green Deal provider will then propose finance and the occupant/owner/landlord will approve the work. The work will be done and a charge will appear on the energy bill of the occupant for a pre-determined term sufficient to pay for the works, the finance costs and the assessment costs.
There are many unresolved issues:
The documentation is about works to individual properties, but to succeed in financial, carbon and townscape terms, the works need to be carried out at a large scale.
- Works to neighbouring properties may be different, but this may not be desirable as the main way to reduce costs is to carry out the same works to very many properties in the same street, neighbourhood, city. Reducing costs of the works is highly desirable as the cost will be repaid by the occupants and it is entirely possible that an expensive Green Deal will drive many more households into fuel poverty.
- Works to neighbouring properties may be different, but where they affect the appearance of the property, particularly the application of solid wall insulation (SWI) there are many good reasons to ensure that they result in a uniform appearance, or result in an appearance that improves or maintains an attractive townscape. If an uncoordinated Green Deal is allowed to produce a mix of measures on a street the result could lower values. On the other hand, a coordinated Green Deal where measures are appropriate to the townscape is likely to improve property values.
- Some works will not make financial sense but will make practical sense, for example, installing new windows may not be neccessary in CO2 terms, but if solid wall insulation is being installed, then new windows should be installed to avoid thermal bridging effects and to ensure that the benefits of SWI are realised.
- Windows are eligible measures, but who will pay for the impact of having to install conservation windows in properties where there are planning or heritage reasons for doing so?
In summary, this Green Deal is shaping up to offer a comprehensive CO2 reduction package to every household in the UK over the forthcoming decades. The impact of this on CO2 emissions is likely to be dramatic and positive. Without careful planning on the part of communities the visual impact of the Green deal might be equally dramatic and equally negative.