Opinion

Making the most of Green Deal

Dinas Powys

With a few weeks left for remaining Green Deal vouchers to be redeemed, Brett Langdon of external wall insulation systems provider, Soltherm EWI Wales Ltd, looks at how householders can make the most of the funding scheme which helps make energy-saving home improvements to a property and the things to be mindful of when applying for funding and working with installers.

The last release of GDHIF which allowed householders the opportunity to make energy savings, cut costs and improve the appearance of their homes proved to be extremely successful with thousands of people.  All of the funding was taken up within 14 hours of release; however there are still some that have yet to redeem them.

We are constantly reading stories about the fuel crisis and rising energy bills and the Green Deal really is a scheme that is helping not only combat the impact we are having on the environment but it is genuinely helping people to save money and stay warm.   So, if you have not redeemed your voucher you can still make the most of its benefits as the deadline has been extended until 31 March – but what do you need to know?

Green Deal Who?
If you haven’t heard of the funding scheme that was launched by Government last year, the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is essentially an initiative to help tackle the upfront costs of making a home more energy-efficient, offering householders up to £5,600 in vouchers for energy efficiency improvement.  Those who successfully applied for Green Deal cash back could turn their vouchers into money once the work to their property was completed.

To qualify for Green Deal your home will be assessed for a number of energy saving measures with the major part of the funding awarded for external wall insulation on solid properties of up to £4,000.

Applying for  Green Deal funding?
Anyone who is living in a property can apply for Green Deal funding – but be quick, the last batch ran out pretty quickly with this popular scheme.   Unlike many energy efficiency funds/grants, it’s not just for those on lower incomes.  All you need to do to apply for the funding is:

  1. Have a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that is less than two years old – if you don’t have one of these you can instruct a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) on solid wall properties for EWI and a Green Deal Advisor on all other types of property to come and assess your home and provide you with one which will cover the measure(s) you are applying for.
  2. A quote from a registered Green Deal installer for each energy saving improvement – make sure you compare prices and expertise so you know you’re getting the best deal and quality workmanship.
  3. Once you have the quote you can make your application

Using the right installer
It is very much up to you who carries out the works on your property, the only requirement is that they are a ‘Green Deal Installer’.    However, before carrying out the work make sure you have the right installer on board.  As with anything business transaction you need to meet with them and ensure that you are happy with expertise, payment terms and time-scales for delivery.  Before any works commence you can always change your installer even if they weren’t the one that you quoted on your Green Deal application – the only requirement when changing installer is that they are of course a Green Deal installer.

Knowing what products are available to you
Make sure that your installer is using the best products and systems for your property.  Do your research before speaking to your installer as many have preferred products and partners.  This is particularly true of external wall insulation with a number of products on the market including Rockwool, STO and our very own Soltherm HD Weather which has been formulated specifically for UK weather.  You should be looking at products that are durable, antimicrobial and long lasting in UK weather.

Don’t get tripped up with payments
It’s up to you and your installer to work out how to pay. The installer will invariably ask for a deposit or the full cost of works upfront or perhaps allow you to pay once the works have been completed.   If you are asked for full payment upfront I would err on the side of caution – this isn’t usual practice.  Make sure that you are happy with the agreement before proceeding with any works as the vouchers can take a few weeks to come through once works are complete.

Once the work is complete, ask your Green Deal installer to fill in your vouchers confirming that the improvements have been made and your home’s Energy Performance Certificate is up to date and start enjoying the benefits of a more energy efficient home.