Green Deal, an energy efficiency program put to the test

by / Tuesday, 29 January 2013 / Published in Smartgrid-CI Blog

The UK government just launched Green Deal an ambitious energy efficiency program that gives homeowners the possibility to finance energy efficiency improvements with installment paid on their energy bill. Will it work?


The idea is not new but it is the first time it is implemented on a whole country scale and this is maybe one reason why it is arising skepticism; the bigger the program, the more difficult its implementation and the more complex its communication. A Quick look at the “Green Deal code of practice”gives an idea of how complex. 

Green Deal is not only complicated for consumers but also for industry potential participants. The green installer accreditation process is actually so heavy that no more than 27% of UK’s small and midsizeconstruction companies are ready to get it. A fact that will certainly limit consumers’ choice.

Some even doubt that Green Deal is as interesting financially as it looks and even consider that Green Deal being essentially a based on credit financing customers may find themselves having to pay more than if they were financing their home improvement in a different way. 

Finally, Green Deal may just be totally out of the mark in terms of homeowners’ expectations. A recent survey with 1,000 homeowners reveals that they have “no great appetite for energy efficiency”. 

Actually, energy efficiency is not at the top of homeowners mind when they think about home renovation. “They found that the biggest motivating factor in deciding to renovate is to improve domestic life, with households facing competing priorities, and those needing to extend or adapt space at home, being more likely to consider renovations. Up to a third of decisions to renovate are triggered by specific events, the most common being when something in the home needs fixing or replacing, such as a boiler or a window.”

And more importantly home renovation represents such a “major hassle and a big disruption to family life” that homeowners prefer to avoid it. The Green Deal will benefit primary those who are ready to launch a renovation project and its positive impact maybe will boost their ambition and only if the project does not disturb daily routine.  

This is why expectations with this program should be modest. But it still is an interesting experiment to follow on the condition the British government implements the right indicators.

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