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High Street firms to pilot green deal

Leading DIY and energy firms have signed up for a series of trials of the government’s green deal home energy efficiency scheme.

B&Q, Homebase, Carillion, and British Gas are among the firms who will take part in the business-led trials (see box, below). These will begin in September, and will examine how to get people to take up the green deal.

Under the green deal, householders will be able to get energy efficiency improvements to their homes without paying any upfront costs. The cost of the equipment will be repaid through savings in energy bills.

The green deal is due to launch in the Autumn of 2012. Legislation to introduce the scheme is contained in the Energy Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne said: ‘The green deal’s going to be a real hit and will be a fantastic way for people to upgrade their draughty and energy-wasting homes.

‘But there are currently too many barriers standing in the way of people upgrading their homes – the cost, the hassle, and the lack of trust in the people who install the kit.

‘It’s great that high street names are getting involved at this early stage to road-test these exciting ideas about how to make it easier for people to take up the green deal and insulate their homes from rising energy prices.’

Examples of the trial schemes

B&Q and Sutton Council are considering offering a subsidised loft clearance service to test whether removing the ‘hassle’ factor of insulation motivates people to make efficiency improvements. The unwanted contents of the loft clearance will be donated to local charities. B&Q will also test the impact of offering collective purchasing discounts to households for buying energy efficient products.

Homebase and Carillion will team up with a local authority to test the impact of offering immediate rewards to residents for purchasing energy efficiency measures. The offer will include a one month’s council tax holiday or vouchers to spend in store.
First Utility / Opower will be conducting a randomised controlled trial to investigate the effect of behavioural feedback – including comparative consumption – on consumer energy use.

Government will work with British Gas and Alert Me to investigate which channels of communication most effectively motivate consumers to save energy.

Source : Tom Lloyd - Inside Housing

06 July 2011
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