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.”