UK: A Euro230m government energy-efficiency scheme which aims to refurbish 14 million homes in the UK has been criticised for putting millions of homeowners in a worse position.
The Green Deal announced on 24 November 2011 will allow homeowners to take a loan to install insulation or other energy-saving measures from October 2012. It is intended that the bill savings from the measures will be larger than the loan repayments.
"But millions of hard-working households will lose existing subsidies for insulating their home and will have to borrow the costs of insulation at commercial rates instead," claimed Steven Heath, of Knauf Insulation.
Although subsidies remain for the fuel poor, Heath said that households struggling to pay rising fuel costs would be adversely affected. "The Green Deal initiative needs to be revised to ensure a sensible, effective transition over the next five years from current green energy subsidies," he said.
The Green Deal proposals allow for up to Euro170 to be given as a cashback offer to homeowners, but that is added to the loan. Richard Lloyd of Which? said, "It's crucial that the Government gets the Green Deal right. If it's not good value for consumers overall, short-term incentives will not be enough."
At the launch of the scheme Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said, "We want the Green Deal to be a game changer for British consumers who've been buffeted by global energy prices." It is hoped that the Green Deal will kick start around Euro16bn of private sector investment over the next decade until 2022.
UK: The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published figures that map the UK's performance in installing energy-saving residential insulation. In a local, council-by-council energy breakdown in conjunction with the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the department's figures showed that five of the country's worst performing local councils for installing home insulation were in London.
The London councils contrasted sharply with Kirklees, Yorkshire and Anglesey, Wales, which were revealed as the nation's top performing local authorities with 24.8% and 22.5% of their respective stock insulated. The largest number of insulation fittings that were carried out in 2010 were in Birmingham with a total of 12,079. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said, "For those who haven't yet insulated their home, I'd really recommend them to pick up the phone, call the EST and check out the help available to cut bills."
Installing insulation forms part of the government's Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme and supplements schemes in the forthcoming Green Deal from 2012. As part of the initiative, fuel companies have been told by the coalition government to help homeowners improve their energy efficiency. British Gas, which has a 20% market share in UK gas supply, has recently announced a free insulation installation deal for its customers as part of the plans.