This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
What would you do if the government introduced a scheme to cover the cost it would take to make your home more eco-friendly and then let you pay that cost back gradually? Well, it appears we’re shortly to find out after energy minister Chris Huhne announced a scheme to help property owners make their homes more energy efficient under a “green deal” to tackle the UK’s poorly insulated houses.
Under the deal, which is part of the Energy Bill, property owners will be able to improve the energy efficiency of their homes at no upfront cost, instead paying it back through a charge on their energy bill which, it’s intended, will be less than the savings made as a result of the improvements. It’s hoped the measures will curb heat loss from homes and therefore reduce CO2 emissions.
Sounds good right? Well Huhne, as you’d imagine, certainly thinks so and he says the scheme, available from 2012, would “make upgrading our nation’s draughty homes a no brainer”.
“When it comes to making our homes warmer and cosier, Britain’s a laggard,” Huhne said. “The green deal is about taking the hassle and upfront cost out of making your home more energy efficient.”
He says the Energy Bill has tough measures built in to protect consumers when they opt to insulate their properties, specifically, those seeking to carry out the insulation will have to have appropriate accreditation, a quality mark and insurance-backed warranties in place to keep the cowboys out.
But is it as cut and dry as all that? Critics of the scheme have raised concerns it’s all a bit complicated and people will be put off taking advantage of the deal because they don’t quite get it.
The UK Green Building Council told the FT it was critical that the finance for the deal was provided at sufficiently low interest rates to make it attractive for consumers and to ensure they can access a range of technologies.
The Council also called for householders to be given “a clear signal they will be expected to refurbish their homes, either with fiscal incentives that link rates of stamp duty or council tax to the level of energy efficiency or [that] say people won’t be able to rent or sell their home until it meets a minimum standard”.