It’s difficult to dispute the fact that refurbishing your home by insulating, draught proofing and fitting new heating and hot water systems can certainly save on your bills, but the short-term upfront costs of products and installation seem to be putting off many householders.
The government-backed Green Deal scheme, launched in January this year, could be the game changer- allowing home-owners to refurbish their homes whilst off setting the costs through the money saving changes to their electricity bills. Whilst there can be a £100 one off assessment fee the scheme allows you to install many energy efficient measures , but the uptake has been reportedly low.
What is unusual about the Green deal is that the scheme allows money to be loaned on the home not the home owner, then paid back by savings made to your electricity bill. The Golden Rule (as it is officially called) is that the costs to changes must be less than the savings you get from the improvements over an agreed period of time. In other words, the improvements pay for themselves and you’re protected from higher bills as a result of carrying out home improvements.
45 different improvements are currently eligible for the Green Deal, and the market is vast. Considering home insulation alone, almost 8 million homes could benefit from solid wall insulation, around 4 million homes from cavity wall insulation; whilst there are over a million boiler replacements in homes each year.
So given the opportunity of a warmer home and lower energy bills, why is the uptake so low?
Well firstly – it’s early days – so perhaps it’s just the early adopters who are getting on board as the scheme begins to take off. So far 219 households have had improvements carried out under the scheme, of 1,173 which are currently in the process of completing on it.
That might sound low, but the number of Green Deal Assessments has been much higher, which means people are keen to improve on energy efficiency. Last month 16,674 assessments took place, bringing the total up to 101,851. These are people who have had an impartial accredited adviser look for energy improvement opportunities in their home. In many cases they are carried out, though not necessarily through the Green Deal financing scheme.
Secondly, many are fixated on the short term cost rather than the long term savings. Not only will you start saving immediately, you will also be protecting yourself to future price hikes in energy costs – a fact that seems an inevitable annual activity. The Green Deal is a way of adding energy-saving features and increasing comfort levels to your home with minimal upfront cost, and making savings into the future.
In fact, I believe insulation is more effective than many give it credit it for. Having insulated the loft, walls, and under the floor, my own home looses significantly less than most . Overnight my heating is left off for nine hours, losing only between 1.5-2 degrees Celsius of heat, meaning it takes less energy to warm itself up again in the morning.
Living in a home that’s warm, dry and draught free when you wake up in the morning, that’s filled with natural light in the daytime is an important part of creating a happy, healthy homes to live in – it’s a part of living well.
Perhaps what sceptics of insulated draught fee homes should do is go visit one for them selves, and my own like 174 others open regularly for eco home tours as part of the Old Home Super Home group – first hand experience and impartial advice is enormously powerful.
If you’re thinking about improving your home and want to get more information about the Green Deal there is useful information on the government’s own website and lots of useful information on uSwitch as well.