Green Deal needs changing before becoming an effective way of improving energy efficiency
Release Date 28 January 2013
As the Government launches the Green Deal today Professor Tim Dixon, Chair in Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment in the University of Reading's School of Construction Management and Engineering, discusses the flaws of the scheme as it stands.
Professor Dixon said:
"The Green Deal is a major step forward in potentially enabling energy efficiency measures to be carried out at a large scale in the UK. However, it fails to recognise key issues which could mean reduced rates of insulation in the domestic sector, and a reduced chance of its success in the commercial property world.
"More flexibility needs to be given to homeowners. Penalising those who pay back early under the Deal is unfair and this should be amended under the Consumer Credit Act. Guaranteed ‘independent' assessments of actual energy use, rather than average energy, should be used as the basis for a ‘personalised' energy assessment. The Green Investment Bank also needs a more central role to enable better overall risk management of the scheme at lower, more attractive rates of interest.
"More permanent and wide-ranging incentives are needed such as differential stamp duty, council tax rebates, and tax breaks, along with clearer guidance on how to join the scheme. A national ‘Low Carbon Cities Network' would mean increased focus on city-wide financial packages which could help a range of towns and cities, linked with City Deals. However this requires a much more strategic approach to low carbon transition in the built environment so that energy efficiency measures at scale are incentivised and not prevented by contradictory planning and building regulations. It is also critical that more detailed guidance on how the scheme fits in with the requirement to ‘let' more energy efficient properties by 2016 and 2018.
"Much more work needs to be done on the Green Deal before the scheme becomes an effective way of improving energy efficiency. We will need to retrofit one house per minute until 2050 if we are to meet our national carbon emissions targets. So scaling up retrofit with financing that provides real incentives is key."
Recently the School of Construction Management and Engineering responded to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Excellence in the Built Environment (APPG-EBE) consultation on ‘Sustainable Construction and the Green Deal'
Professor Tim Dixon has led many projects across a range of areas during more than 25 years of research leadership and management. He was recently commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to examine the low carbon plans and strategies of the top 60 cities in the UK. Giving an overview of how cities are faring, Professor Dixon also examined why some are performing better than others and looked at major barriers that could prevent cities reaching national 2050 emissions targets. Professor Dixon is also carrying out EPSRC Retrofit 2050, a four year research council-funded project which is looking at re-engineering and retrofitting cities to 2050.