Keepmoat leads the way in Green Deal
Published by Kelly Elliott for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
Work being carried by Keepmoat to homes in Fenham as part of the CESP initiative
Leading housing and regeneration company Keepmoat has demonstrated its commitment to tackling fuel poverty in the UK by becoming one of the first businesses to be awarded Green Deal Provider status.
The accreditation not only enables Keepmoat to carry out energy efficiency home improvements as part of the Government’s Green Deal initiative, but also to offer Green Deal finance to its customers, as well as acting as a Green Deal delivery partner for clients.
Gaining Provider status will also set the company in good stead when it comes to accessing future energy efficiency funding, such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which will replace the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), with between £3bn and £5bn due to be invested by energy suppliers by March 2015.
The Green Deal aims to make homes and business across the UK more energy efficient, allowing consumers to save money on their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.
Many customers are expected to qualify for ECO funding and any shortfall will be repaid through a Green Deal charge on their electricity bill, rather than upfront, with repayments passed onto whomever pays the electricity bill for that home in the future.
The Green Deal’s ‘golden rule’ means that the financial savings predicted to be made by the customer in year one should be greater than the repayment charge, and as energy prices rise, so will the financial savings.
Keepmoat has an impressive track record when it comes to delivering the kind of large scale retrofit solutions which will be provided through the Green Deal.
With the recent sharp rise in energy bills, addressing the issue of fuel poverty has become a key driver for many of its clients and customers, and over the last decade Keepmoat has delivered Green Deal eligible measures to over 300,000 homes, resulting in an estimated energy bill savings of £160m.
Nigel Banks, Keepmoat’s Group Sustainability Director, believes the company’s customer focus and experience of delivering potentially disruptive works in occupied homes has been key to achieving high levels of uptake for retrofit work through schemes such as CESP, and will be critical when it comes to carrying out future ECO and Green Deal funded projects.
He said: “Gaining high levels of uptake while eliminating the risk of mis-selling is one of the biggest concerns surrounding the Green Deal, but the work we have carried out under the current CESP scheme has taught us that having the support of a trusted brand, such as the local authority or a registered provider, helps reassure customers that such work is worthwhile.
“We are currently delivering solid wall insulation to over 450 homes every week across the UK through CESP and have had some real success stories – not just when it comes to eliminating fuel poverty but also in creating employment and training opportunities.”
This impressive track record has led to Keepmoat being chosen by some of its clients to deliver recently announced Green Deal pilots, through which £12m of Government funding has been shared between seven UK cities to help them kick start Green Deal initiatives.
The pilot projects will allow key elements of the Green Deal framework, such as assessment and installation, to be tested, as well as raising awareness of the scheme.
But it is not just Keepmoat’s practical experience which gives it the edge when it comes to delivering energy efficiency measures and tackling fuel poverty. The company is a long-standing member of the UK Green Building Council and recently joined an expert panel, established by the UKGBC to advise the Government on how to incentivise take-up of the Green Deal.
The task group, which includes other UKGBC members and key stakeholders, will assess the financial incentives for householders, such as varying rates of council tax and stamp duty, and will report its findings early next year.
Nigel Banks, who is himself a member of the UKGBC’s policy committee, said: “We have been actively involved in the discussions with Government used to develop the Green Deal policies to date and as a member of the UKGBC panel, we will share our experiences to help shape the policy direction going forward.
“Helping our customers escape fuel poverty is a key goal for us and our clients and we believe the investment available to communities through ECO funding, in addition to the private finance supported by Green Deal and a range of other mechanisms, will enable our partners to make significant progress is achieving this, as well as reducing carbon emissions and creating local jobs.”