University Researchers to Put Green Deal Under the Microscope

8 May 2013

University researchers are planning to analyse the Government’s latest energy efficiency initiative to determine whether it offers UK householders are real chance to reduce their energy bills.

The University of Salford will examine Greater Manchester households taking part in the Green Deal, which offers a loan to pay for energy efficient home improvements.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has committed £237,000 to the study.

The Green Deal

Launched in January 2013, the Green Deal has been designed to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in the UK’s housing stock.

Under the initiative, households can apply for an upfront loan to make energy efficient home improvements. Measures covered under the scheme include Cavity Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, boiler replacement, micro-generation and improved glazing.

A Green Deal assessment is conducted which determines the improvements that would best suit the property. Following this, a Green Deal plan is drawn up which provides the upfront capital to make the proposed changes.

The loan is then repaid against the property’s electricity bill, with repayments guaranteed not to exceed the cost of the sum saved, meaning householders will not be out of pocket. This is known as the Green Deal ‘Golden Rule’.

Analysing Potential Savings

In order to ensure that the savings householders can expect from any home improvements are realistic in the first place, the Government is looking at analysing what energy is saved as a result of installing Cavity Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, glazing, and efficient heating systems.

DECC has approached the University of Salford to undertake an investigation into how much can be saved.

The University’s Applied Buildings and Energy Research Group will gather information from households involved in the Green Deal, using infrared thermography and a number of other instruments to measure humidity and carbon dioxide levels, amongst others.

Dr Will Swan from the University of Salford’s Energy Hub is leading the project. He said: “If we are to effectively understand what difference sustainable retrofit is going to make to people’s bills and their quality of life, we need to establish the evidence base that will help inform those decisions.

“The [university] team is committed to making sure we can not only do that, but work with our partners to ensure that real learning takes place.”

The University of Salford will release interim results in March 2014 with a full report to follow in September 2014.

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