Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A consumer guide to what The Green Deal is and how it may affect you

New research from Pilkington energiKare™ has found that three quarters of us don’t know what the Green Deal is, with nearly one in five (17 per cent) admitting we have heard of the term but don’t know how it will affect us. To help explain the Green Deal and how it can be of benefit, Tony Smith, Business Development Manager at Pilkington Building Products, shares his expert advice.
What exactly is The Green Deal?

The Green Deal is the flagship government energy efficiency initiative contained within the Energy Bill 2011, which aims to give homeowners the opportunity to reduce energy use by installing insulation improvement measures and improving heating and lighting efficiency in their homes. The Green Deal will also give tenants the right to ask their landlords for reasonable upgrades to their homes.

The Green Deal is a loan scheme allowing people to upgrade their homes without having to pay for it upfront. An assessment of the property is made by a certified assessor who will recommend measures to save energy. The government has introduced a Golden Rule that requires that the cost savings from the reduction in energy use must cover the Green Deal loan repayments making the scheme self financing. The Green Deal Finance repayments will be collected through the electricity bill.

Why is The Green Deal being introduced?
Many of us want to improve our property and help the environment but the initial financial outlay of updating a property is off-putting, and for many tenants across the country, paying for updates to their rented home out of their own pocket is simply not an option. The Green Deal aims to help by covering the upfront expenditure with a loan from a government regulated Green Deal Provider.

What sort of energy updates will be included in the Green Deal?
Pilkington Building Products has been lobbying the government to encourage inclusion of energy-efficient glazing into the Green Deal in order to help meet the UK objectives to reduce carbon emissions in future. Improvement measures that will be covered by the Green Deal scheme will include energy-efficient glazing, solid wall insulation, loft and cavity wall insulation, heating upgrades, ventilation and lighting improvements and other energy efficiency measures.

We are pleased that energy-efficient glazing will be included in the Green Deal scheme. Energy-efficient glazing can help homeowners and tenants significantly save energy and reduce bills. Pilkington energiKare™ double-glazing can help people to save up to 20 per cent on heating bills, compared to single glazing.

The right glass such as Pilkington K Glass™ plays a key role in the prevention of energy loss through windows and is a vital part of making a home sustainable. Energy saving measures are essential for homeowners, landlords and businesses to reduce CO2 output and reduce the cost and dependency on energy.

How will the installations be affected if I move to a new home?
The Green Deal loan charge is attached to the electricity meter so if the homeowner sells the property the new owner will get the benefit of the measures and continue the loan repayments through the electricity bill. People can get worried when you mention finance and loans, and immediately think of debt – but you have to think of it very differently to buying a sofa or a car on finance and paying it back over many years. The car or the sofa will diminish in value, but because the products included in the Green Deal are required to meet the governments Golden Rule, saving energy and money on your energy bills, they will be continually be working for you, so over the period of the loan the measures should have paid for themselves. No specific loan period is set for the Green Deal, but full repayment must be made within the guarantee period of the product.

Green Deal Summary
The Green Deal would consist of the following steps:
1. An independent and impartial accredited assessor will carry out an energy survey of the property showing advice on the best energy-saving solutions.
2. Green Deal funding is to be provided only through a regulated Green Deal Provider which is then paid back through savings on energy bills, making properties more energy economical immediately.
3. Homeowners then receive the energy efficiency package, safe in the knowledge that only accredited measures will be installed by qualified and accredited installers.
4. The homeowner will also have the peace of mind in knowing that the Green Deal Provider is required by government to guarantee the measures for the full life of the Green Deal loan.

In the meantime, while we wait for the Government’s Green Deal plans to be finalised, here are a few simple suggestions on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient light bulbs – Fitting just one energy saving light bulb can save you on average £2.50 a year - and by swapping all the light bulbs in your home for energy-efficient ones, you could save around £37 per year*. Energy-efficient bulbs will produce the same amount of light as a standard light bulb but will use a fraction of the electricity.

Turn down the thermostat – Invest in a digital room thermostat and timer, this will automatically reduce the heating while you are asleep or out at work. As much as 10 percent can be saved on heating bills by turning the thermostat back by just a few degrees.

Eliminate draughts and Insulate – Inspect your home for draughts that will let the cold air in. Particularly feel for air coming in around doors, windows and electrical sockets. If you find any draughts, seal them! Make sure your loft is well insulated, the loft is a common source of draughts and the cold air quickly finds a way to circulate through the home. Insulation is relatively easy to install and it could save you up to £150 a year.

Insulation jacket for your hot water tank – Keep your hot water cylinder warm by wrapping an insulator blanket around it as this will reduce the rate at which it loses heat. Also try adding insulation to internal exposed pipes in the airing cupboard and around the cylinder, as this will also help conserve the heat.

Turn off at the switch – don’t leave electrical appliances on standby – This means that the appliance is still using electricity and therefore wasting energy. It has been estimated that more than £740m of electricity is wasted every year in the UK by things being left on standby the equivalent of more than two power stations' output. So make sure you switch off at the main power source ensuring you save both energy and money.

Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) energy saving calculator for a mains gas, detached house www.ggf.org.uk/energy-savings-calculator



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