Greg Barker MP, made a couple of interesting observations at an event yesterday at Channel4 to award prizes to videomakers in a refurbishment video competition. He spoke about the Green Deal as a home improvement programme, not as a climate change mitigation effort. The idea is that the great british public are not sufficiently interested in climate change to do anything, nor are they sufficiently interested in energy efficiency to do much, but they are interested in DIY. So lets use that!
This seems to be too optimistic on the one hand, and pessimistic on the other. Optimistic that the results of a program such as the Green Deal will deliver climate change mitigation without expressly being designed to do so, and pessimistic that the Great British public don’t care enough to act, and cannot be brought to care by education, suggestion and exhortation.
There is a lot of intellectual and practical distance between carrying out a home improvement exercise which includes some energy efficiency measures, to an energy efficiency improvement package that delivers climate mitigation results.
I recognise that there is a significant majority who currently do not care about climate change, or do not care enough in a way that they are motivated to do so. Perhaps this is because the messages that they have received so far are too doomladen to motivate them to learn more. Perhaps with the right kind of message, about justice for those affected by climate change but are unable to do anything about it, for example, might affect them more than pointing out that the Green Deal will save them a few hundred pounds a year.
We have to use the Green Deal to reach all sectors of the market, the interested, disinterested, deniers and the unaware. Those that care and those that don’t. But we musn’t think that appealing to those who watch Location Location Location is the only way to engage with the refurbishment market.