A boost for greener homes

New and additional government funding of £200m of will be made available to provide a special time-limited introductory offer to boost the early take up of the government’s Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.

With bills rising because of rocketing global energy prices, the government wants to see as many people as possible benefiting when the Green Deal hits the high street next year.            
Whilst the NIA has welcomed the cash boost, it has also identified additional actions it says are needed to maximise the effectiveness of the funding. The association’s comments came following the November publication of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation document.

NIA chief executive Neil Marshall said: “Over the past few months we have identified a number of key areas that need to be addressed to ensure the success of the Green Deal. One of these was the need for additional customer incentives and we are therefore pleased that government has acted on this advice and we look forward to working with them in deciding how best to utilise the funds to maximum effect.”

COMMUNICATIONS
Marshall went on to say that whilst the £200m funding is a very positive move it needs to be supplemented by a high profile customer communications campaign and a number of additional actions are needed to ensure success. These include support and funding from government for skills and training to support the tenfold increase in Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) supply chain capacity that will be required under the Green Deal.

He also highlighted the need for additional support for Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) and Loft Insulation (LI) to maintain sensible volumes under the Green Deal and ECO.

Based on the current proposals CWI and LI volumes are expected to reduce dramatically after the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) ends on 31 December 2012. This would have serious implications for the industry in terms of jobs and the transition that is needed to SWI and result in lost carbon savings from low cost CWI and LI measures, says the NIA.

The legal framework for the Green Deal was set in stone when the Energy Act recently became law, and part of this was the government’s commitment to energy efficiency and insulation.

THINKING BIG
The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), together have the potential to transform the energy efficiency of the UK’s entire housing stock. Marshall says there are a number of key areas that need to be addressed in order to maximise their success. These include a high level consumer awareness and engagement programme, and additional incentives to drive the take-up of cavity wall and loft insulation.

Under current proposals, cavity wall and loft insulation will not be subsidised for the able-to-pay sector under the Green Deal and ECO as they are under the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). The industry predicts that this could result in a significant fall off in up-take until the Green Deal is fully established which could compromise carbon savings and the Industry’s ability to ramp up for Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) in the early years.

INSULATION TAKE UP

Under the Green Deal there is expected be a 10 fold increase in SWI installations, which will require an associated ramping of industry capacity. The NIA and the Solid Wall Guarantee Agency (SWIGA) are therefore working together to develop a new quality assurance infrastructure and framework for SWI to enable capacity to be ramped up in a controlled manner. This will include a new independent 25 year guarantee for SWI.

Marshall says that success could also be maximised through the development of a plan with government to insulate the housing stock and support the transition from lower cost cavity wall and loft insulation to higher cost SWI. This will need to include support and funding for skills and training for SWI.

The organisation says it is looking forward to continuing to work with government in preparations and implementation of both the Green Deal and ECO.

GETTING HOUSEHOLDERS TO ACT
With the news that all major energy companies have now increased the cost of gas and electricity by 14.2 per cent on average, adding £161 to the typical household fuel bill, and many householders needing to save money, the NIA is urging consumers to act now and take advantage of the various schemes available to reduce the cost of installing home insulation.

The Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) which is operated by the energy suppliers is a current scheme operating in England, Wales and Scotland which offers householders funding towards the cost of installing insulation measures. This scheme offers large subsidies and it could even be free for those people aged over 70, or on qualifying benefits.

Marshall said: “Householders should arrange to have their homes insulated through CERT as soon as possible so that they can immediately benefit from a warmer home and reduced fuel bills. By simply installing cavity wall and loft insulation, a saving of around £255 per year can be made.” This is based on adding cavity wall insulation (saving around £110 per year) and loft insulation of 270mm (saving around £145 per year). This was worked out based on an uninsulated three bed semi detached gas heated house.

The savings are even greater for insulating solid walls and lofts, around £520 per year. This figure is based on adding solid wall insulation (saving around £375 per year) and loft insulation of 270mm (saving around £145 per year). This worked out based on an uninsulated three bedroom semi detached gas heated house.

Marshall goes on to say: “The CERT scheme is due to finish at the end of 2012 and so householders should act now to ensure that they do not miss out.”

SEEK ADVICE

The NIA also advises that for complete peace of mind householders should contact its members for a free quotation and advice on the best type of insulation suitable for the home. Not only are they fully qualified installers who are bound by a strict Code of Professional Practice, but are also able to advise on the range of grants and subsidies available and how to apply.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Tel: 01525 3833113
www.nationalinsulationassociation.org.uk

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