UK’s Green Deal Retrofit Program Off To Rocky Start

Five months ago, the UK government launched the Green Deal retrofit scheme, a program designed to help business and home owners to employ more green technologies in their properties. Details of the program seem incredibly attractive: install energy-efficient technology with no up front costs, and pay back the cost over time.

The UK has already spent about £16m (about $25 million USD) marketing and administering the plan, but at the end of July, not a single household had completed the process. Program officials say it’s not a lack of enthusiasm about energy-efficient upgrades that’s to blame, but a lack of builders and contractors set up to offer the special financing option.

A visit to the Green Deal website shows a fairly easy to navigate interface with options for homeowners, renters, and businesses, as well as installers and service providers. While there are clear numbers to indicate that the public is enthusiastic about the program, the number of businesses onboard is preventing desired success.

“Nearly 40,000 assessments – in which experts visit properties to see what measures would best be undertaken – have been carried out, but only four households are registered in the system as finalising green deal plans, whereby works are installed and paid for by the scheme’s financing,” reports the Guardian. “A further 241 households have confirmed they would like to proceed with financing.”

This number might seem discouraging, especially with so many in need of improved insulation and boiler upgrades, but it only tells part of the story.

“It’s only the last few weeks, in fact in some case the last few days, that the first wave of green deal finance has been available through a very limited number of companies, I think five in total… so you wouldn’t expect them [householders] to have gone all the way through the process,” wrote the climate minister, Greg Barker, in late June. “But there are another 50-plus companies hard on their heels that we expect to come into the market in the next few few months so by the end of the year the Green Deal Finance Company say it could be as many as 60. Now that would be transformational.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • TinkD

      I set up in business as an assessor for the Green Deal. I have created a website, contacted several providers to offer my services, printed and distributed 1,000 leaflets, qualified as an assessor (which cost £2,000), invested more money into the business and the result has been a big fat zero. People are simply not interested.

    • Sean Black

      I have been in the Insulation business for all in over 9 years. In Scotland we had a number of schemes through these years which let people get insulation for nothing. It was hard work trying to get households to get insulation for nothing and now they want you to take out a crazy loan. This is the biggest Flop/Scam we have ever seen. Anybody thinking about this is crazy. In a few years it will be the new PPI scam… People calling you Have you been miss sold a GREEN DEAL LOAN. My work payed for me to go through the training never even bothered finishing it as i knew it would be a total Fail. Moving onto other things. Youtube THE REAL GREENDEAL. TinkD you should have watched that before you paid any cash buddy 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7BT2Ltcdh8

    • TrevorBull

      I agree that the green deal has got off to a rocky start but I still think it is a good thing, having been on a green deal course we really got to know more about the green deal.