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Green Deal green-lighted

by Gordon Miller

The long-anticipated Green Deal has been green-lighted with the passing this week of The Energy Act into law. The enactment sets in stone the legal framework for the Green Deal, which will be launched in Autumn 2012.

The Green Deal has the ability to revolutionise the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes and businesses. It will help people insulate against rising energy prices, creating the opportunity to make homes warmer and cheaper to run.

The initiative is greatly needed. The Department of Energy & Climate change has published a report, the Housing Energy Fact File, that highlights that more than half of the 26 million dwellings in Great Britain have insufficient insulation.

The Green Deal is the first piece of legislation worldwide that will remove the upfront cost of energy efficiency measures (like loft, cavity and external wall insulation, draught proofing and energy efficiency glazing and boilers) making expensive home improvement affordable.

Householders will be able to borrow money at low cost interest rates on Green Deals to have the work undertaken. The newly formed Green Deal Finance Company has the potential to offer a better deal for the consumer and to support healthy competition amongst Green Deal providers including small businesses.

Significantly, the energy saving work undertaken will be repaid over time through a charge on the home’s energy bill. The repayments must obey a “golden rule” whereby the charge is no more than the expected savings, meaning householders should save from day one.

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “When it’s introduced, the Green Deal will be as easy as ABC by making work affordable, providing bespoke independent advice and choice in the market from well-known and trusted high street names.”

High standards will be crucial from the first independent home energy assessment to getting the job done by qualified installers. All Green Deal participants will need to carry a “quality mark” so customers know they can be trusted to do a good job.

Anwar Harland-Khan CEO of Sustain Worldwide, an elite membership organisation of developers, houesbuilders and professionals committed to sustainability, said: “The coming Green Deal is a significant piece of legislation that will enable homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient with no upfront cost, which will benefit them financially through lower energy bills and later should they come to sell their property.

“Clearly, those homes that have significant energy efficient improvements will score higher on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is mandatory when selling a home. Already, we are beginning to see purchasers take a property’s energy efficiency into account when buying a home. As energy bills rise, the launch of the Green Deal will push a property’s energy efficiency ever higher up the buyer’s ‘must have’ checklist.”

How the Green Deal will work for consumers

Gordon Miller is co-founder and sustainability & communications director of Sustain Worldwide. He writes for The Financial Times and The Guardian, co-founded and chairs energy and environmental awareness social enterprise The High Barnet Green Home Zone.

For more information about Sustain Worldwide’s members’ luxury sustainable homes, resorts and communities, visit www.SustainWorldwide.com or call  +44 (0)20 7754 5557

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