The Guardian newspapers Leo Hickman has an interesting article and asks this very question, “Will the green deal save homeowners money?”
His colum has many interesting comments and commentators and is well worth reading, we’ve sent him our observations along the following lines, you see, we believe Green Deal as proposed in the consultation is immoral, the government misguided and there’s a massive mis-selling scandal about to unfold.
The government has no money, we are all paying the price of living beyond the means of our personal or the debts of the country. The government is not funding anything (except a £200m starter fund).
They want to encourage us to change our habits, to invest in energy improvements and consume (or retain more of) less energy. We fully support these aims, however, they have created a sled hammer to crack a nut. They have made decisions based upon the wrong assumptions and intend to reward the wrong measures.
They expect occupiers, (who benefit from the improvements) to pay for the benefits of new energy insulation or efficiency measures. Now if you own your own home that is fair, but if you don’t own the building they are expected you, as the occupier, to pay for the home improvements of the building’s owner!
This is a fantastic idea for those who own rental properties.
Get improvements made to your buildings, then let the occupier pay, over the odds for the new measures, even if their actual use of that property fails to generate any of the projected savings.
For any scheme to work, it has to benefit the owner, the bill payer, the person who is to foot the bill, not a user occupier. It is the lack of investment that has meant our existing housing stock is some of the worst performing in the country.
As a home owner myself, I am very conscious about the energy lost through poorly insulated materials, but adding a layer of bureaucracy, commercial interest charges and legal fees on top of the base product costs extends has to extend the pay back period, well into the never, never, never land!
It just isn’t going to be taken seriously by the target audience, homeowners!
Moreover, it is dependent upon occupiers changing their habits.
Turning down the thermostat so that they stay as warm as they were (before the measures) but consume less energy……guess what, human nature says, ”This is cosy, let’s shed a layer of clothes, let’s feel more comfortable”, LEAVING the thermostat at the previous level.
No savings, just an extra bill to pay!
Even if you do take up the offer of GD, think about the prospective buyer of your home, when you come to sell. Lovely house, but there’s £10k of debt the new owner will have to fund, if they decide to purchase the property. They may dislike your taste of windows; they may ask you to clear that debt before they purchase your house or at the very least, discount that amount off the purchase price!
The government are making the assumption that homeowners invest in new windows because they want to save energy.
They do, but this rarely their priority;
• Consumers change windows to improve the look of their home,
• They want it to look better than it does currently, with dummy fixed lights, authentic Georgian bars or “wood” finishes,
• They often want to avoid maintenance, preferring to spend their cash in the future on life’s luxuries not on paint!
• They want added security measures, so they feel safer.
None of these priorities help energy efficiency; they all add costs to the base product which means they will extend the payback period under the golden rule, longer terms, more interest, more costs.
As a result, Green Deal will encourage low cost windows, plain, basic, rudimentary, hardly what English heritage, local planners and conservation officers are looking for, let alone the home owner!
The energy providers are being promoted to run these loans.
Have you seen the bad press they are getting?
They cannot provide clear guidance for the costs of gas and electricity so please don’t let them start in the double glazing or home improvements industry, as we have tried so hard to improve consumer’s experiences.
Many organisations, trade bodies and companies have submitted really positive alternative solutions to those suggested in their consultation, but there is very little sign that they are ready to adopt any of them!
• Why not reduce VAT to 5% for energy efficient windows ( the same level as other insulation measures)
• Why not encourage homeowners with a rebate of stamp duty, providing approved insulation measures are done within the first 12 months?
• Why not consider a voucher scheme to reduce bureaucracy?
What are your views, is green deal an opportunity for the industry or just a massive threat to the good double glazing companies that the government want to help promote the scheme?