Green Deal launch prompts mixed reviews (H&V News)

  • Date: 29/01/2013
  • Source: H&V News, 29th January 2013

The launch of the Green Deal has invited both criticism and positive commentary from industry professionals.

Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry argued the Green Deal needs to involve more small, local builders to work.

“Trusted local trades are ready and willing to help homeowners fit energy-saving measures such as double-glazing and insulation,” he said.

“However, many have expressed frustration that it is not easy for smaller firms to get involved in Green Deal work, and that there hasn’t been a marketing campaign to explain to householders what the Green Deal is all about.”

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) of small to medium-sized construction firms are planning to get involved in the Green Deal according to a recent survey by the FMB, but many said the application and accreditation process was overly complicated, while householders were unaware of the potential benefits because of a lack of positive publicity about the scheme.

Mr Berry continued: “People want to use their local builder to have energy-efficient improvement work carried out, because they know them and have used them before.

“But the scheme has been designed so large numbers of small firms are excluded because of the significant costs involved in offering Green Deal finance directly to homeowners.

“Instead local firms will have to find a large finance provider to work with, rather than getting started on work which would boost the economy and help home-owners save money on their fuel bills.

“The FMB is committed to helping builders become certified Green Deal installers, and we offer advice and pathways to training and certification to ensure people can use a builder they know and trust to future-proof their homes.”

BLP Insurance CEO Kim Vernau voiced her support for the government’s cashback scheme and its initiative to replace old boilers.

Ms Vernau said: “A glimmer of hope for the scheme comes on the back of its initiative to replace old boilers for the cost of between £2,000-£3,000, with no upfront costs for the property owner.

“Furthermore, the government has also put aside £125 million for a “cashback” scheme to those fitting solid wall insulation in the amount of £650, and £220 for those fitting loft insulation, which will be offered on a “first-come, first-served” basis as a reward to those householders who have done work.”

However, Ms Vernau also argued that there are key issues standing in the way of the government delivering on its predictions of success.

Ms Vernau said: “The government’s omission to make further predictions on the number of households likely to benefit from the scheme, coupled with no indication of how much carbon is actually likely to be saved, has done little to stem doubts.”

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