Plumb Center Calls For Better Green Deal Promotion

7 October 2013

More needs to be done to promote the Government’s energy efficiency schemes, according to the leading supplier of building materials in the UK.

Tim Pollard, Head of Sustainsbility at Plumb Center, has called for the Government to do more to convince UK householders of the benefits of the Green Deal. The appeal comes after a survey conducted on behalf of the firm found that almost one in two UK residents is still unaware of the scheme.

The Green Deal was launched on 28 January as part of the Government’s commitment to reducing the nation’s carbon emissions and improving the energy efficiency of an aged housing stock. Under the scheme, householders can take out a loan to pay for any of 45 different energy efficient home improvements, which include Loft Insulation, Cavity Wall Insulation and Solid Wall Insulation.

The scheme is unique in that the loan is repaid, with a fixed rate of interest, against a property’s electricity bill, and remains linked to that property even if the person taking out the loan moves on. A ‘golden rule’ has also been put in place that limits the cost of repayments to be no more than the sum saved by making the energy saving measures. In effect, this means the person taking out the loan will not be out of pocket.

But despite this, knowledge of the scheme is still limited while uptake of loans has been very slow.

According to a survey conducted by strategy consultancy Populus on behalf of the Plumb Center in September, only 52% of people had heard of the scheme.

The survey, which polled 2,052 people, also found that 28% of people were interested in the Green Deal, approximately half of those that were aware of the scheme.

55% questioned were already considering installing energy saving measures, while 70% of over-65s had already or were considering making changes.

While these figures show that the Green Deal has had some impact, the Plumb Center is calling for better promotion to boost this impact.

“Suffering through freezing temperatures is very bad for the health, especially for children and the elderly,” said Pollard. “So as an industry we need to do as much as possible to fight rising energy bills and fuel poverty.

“Energy efficiency is extremely important and we need to make sure UK homes are properly insulated, boilers are effective and the heating is controlled properly, so we don’t waste energy and our hard earned cash.

“We fully support government initiatives like the Green Deal but more needs to be done to convince people of the benefits, and we believe the installer has a critical role to play. It’s unacceptable in the 21st century for millions of people to fear turning on their heating.”

The Government has estimated that some 8 million homes could benefit from Solid Wall Insulation, 6 million from Cavity Wall Insulation, and 5.5 million from Loft Insulation.

It has been reported that 194,751 measures have been carried out under the Energy Company Obligation, a second Government initiative that runs alongside the Green Deal. The scheme, which offers non-repayable means tested grants, has seen nearly 80,000 homes fitted with Loft Insulation and close to 70,000 fitted with Cavity Wall Insulation.

The Plumb Center is part of Wolseley UK, the largest supplier of building materials in the UK.

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