New research indicates 80% of residents to take up Green Deal
Published by Andrew Eagles for Sustainable Homes in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
Research published in June 2012 showed almost 80% of residents were actively willing to pay a charge for energy efficiency improvements to their home. These findings, published by the Gentoo Group, will be of real interest to a sector that is grappling with understanding and gaining interest in the Green Deal.
Through the research over 1,200 residents were asked if they would like to take up energy saving measures (called Energy Saving Bundles or ESB in the research) in return for a small weekly charge. Like the Green Deal, customers pay for the work done with the expected savings on energy bills.
In consultation with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and also working with British Gas, the scheme has enabled customers to make a small contribution to improvements to their property which could be paid for along with their rent or via their energy meter as per the Green Deal model.
Depending on the suitability of their property, customers have the opportunity to have solar PV, new boilers and double glazed windows installed to their properties; this is not only helping customers save money on their energy immediately, but also protecting them against rising energy prices and fuel poverty in years to come.
Throughout this project the Group wanted to test the Green Deal model and consumer appetite for these measures as well as learn lessons for the sector and inform policy development. Added to that was assessing the benefits to customers in terms of reducing their carbon footprint and energy bills and any associated health benefits from warmer and more comfortable homes.
The ESB scheme has now been implemented in three communities across Sunderland involving 1,200 customers and initial results are extremely positive.
79% of customers agreed to ESB works. As the scheme has progressed there has been an 8% increase in customers agreeing to take part in ESB. This is most likely related to increased community awareness of the project and the Group becoming more efficient as it developed and refined processes and techniques throughout.
Sally Hancox, Director of Gentoo Green said: “It’s great to see the enthusiasm for these measures increasing amongst our customers, it shows the appetite that there could be for the Green Deal when it arrives.”
The average charge applied is £1.06 per week with the maximum being £1.59. The British Gas repayment is also proving positive, with customers being able to review their tariff to suit their needs, as well as in some cases receive the ‘Warm Homes’ grants of a £120 electricity credit.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “I am very pleased to see the market gearing up for the introduction of the Green Deal later this year. The success of the ESB trial is evidence of the enthusiasm there is among householders for energy-saving improvements, and the huge potential of the Green Deal model.”
- Brenda Boardman, Emeritus Professor, Oxford University,
- Sally Hancox, MBE, of Gentoo Housing Group
- David Shewan, Parity Projects, who will outline the fuel poverty analysis undertaken of a housing association.
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