The mood music of recent months has struck an increasingly bum note. The Green Deal has been, to all intents and purposes, axed. So, no more loans for home improvements? It depends where you live.
Sustainable Homes’ office sits astride the Thames opposite the Royal Borough of Kingston. The local authority has just announced that it is offering up to £10,000 in grants and loans to homeowners and private tenants for, energy efficient (and other) home improvements.
- Applications will be assessed against the needs of the people living in the property, their vulnerability, and property’s state; with grants and loans put towards repairing a major problem in the property such as excess cold due to failed or inefficient heating and structural failure.
The grant or loan will be paid to the builder when works are completed to a satisfactory standard.
The initiative comes at an opportune time. Despite many flaws, the Green Deal was undoubtedly a recognisable ‘brand’ that engaged homeowners with the idea of energy efficiency – even if the number of measures that were carried out fell far below expectations. Over half a million Green Deal Assessments were carried out under the scheme with the majority of the properties treated being bad energy performance rating (D or lower).
After the announcement that the government would cut public funding of the Green Deal Finance Company, the number of assessments dropped by over a third in August. While the Green Deal is still in operation, the sudden axing of Green Deal without any successor scheme in place or even on the cards could have a great impact on the companies and jobs that were created off its back.
And there are already having knock-on effects on other schemes. Birmingham City Council have scrapped one of the UK’s largest energy efficiency programmes, the ‘Energy Savers’ scheme launched in 2011. Pre-dating the Green Deal proper, it was a partnership with Carillion Energy Services and aimed to deliver 60,000 homes upgrades.
The initiative from Kingston Council and others like it signal leadership. This is real work support to improve the wellbeing of residents, reduce fuel poverty and generate local jobs.
Are you aware of other local authorities doing this? Do you think Green Deal-type schemes have a future? Let us know your thoughts.