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Half of homeowners reject 'Green Deal' in trial

Householders in South London trial rejected Green Deal-style scheme despite promise of long-term savings

Almost half of homeowners who expressed interest in a ’Green Deal’ trial scheme in London subsequently turned down the opportunity, despite the offer of a 40% grant.

Nearly 60 householders out of the 126 who received an energy audit as part of the trial in the borough of Sutton said no, citing they believed long-term savings would be lower than expected.

The scheme was run by B&Q, the London borough of Sutton and consultant BioRegional and was carried out during 2010 and 2011.

A total of 400 households contacted organisers responding to advertisements posted in the local press and online but not all went ahead with energy audits.

Of the 67 that took up the scheme organisers found most were not primarily motivated by financial incentives, with only 39% opting for the best value payback period.

A third opted for the 25-year loan package, which meant repayments would actually exceed fuel bills.

Some customers also chose to invest more in improvements because they expected fuel prices to continue to rise, the researchers said.

The average amount invested per household of the consumers who took up the deal was £13,000, greater than the £10,000 figure expected by the organisers.

The Green Deal is the government’s scheme to encourage homeowners and businesses to upgrade their buildings by installing energy-saving improvements at no upfront cost. Repayments are made from savings made on a customer’s energy bills.

But the ’Pay As You Save’ scheme trialled in Sutton differed to the Green Deal in that the loan was attached to the customer rather than to the energy metre.

A DECC spokesperson said: “The Pay As You Save pilots reveal there is significant demand from householders for installing major energy efficient home improvements such as solid wall insulation when householders are helped to overcome financing barriers.

“However these pilots only test some elements of the Green Deal, key features like repayment through energy bills and the ability to pass costs on when people move home will only be possible once legislation has passed.

“Green Deal will therefore be a decisive step forward in helping households finance energy efficiency improvements.”

Source : Iain Withers - Building.co.uk
www.building.co.uk/news/32-green-deal-pilot/5022937.article

09 August 2011
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