Industry calls for soft loans for green refurb

Householders and redevelopers should be able to access easy-to-repay loans that make improving energy efficiency in homes a no brainer.

This, in a nutshell, is the conclusion of extensive research into potential Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) schemes carried out by the UK Green Building Council.

While the devil is in the detail, the basic concept is that the rate of repayment of the loans would be more or less in line with the predicted savings from reduced energy consumption, meaning there would effectively be minimal up-front cost for improvements.

The finance is complicated, but boils down to the private sector stumping up the initial loans, underwritten by the government and passed on to the consumer via accredited building firms.

The money would then be repaid to the local authority in what would effectively be an increase in the council tax bill.

The report says companies that can provide energy efficiency measures, from insulation to microrenewables, should be able to apply for accreditation.

These companies would be able to access up to £10,000 finance per home which could in turn offer the householder PAYS through higher council tax payments.

The loan would be tied to the home, so that future inhabitants who benefitted from reduced energy bills would need to repay a share of the initial costs over time.

A pdf of the full report can be found on the UKGBC website

Paul King, chief executive of the UK GBC, told reports: "This innovative proposal would provide the finance to trigger a revolution in household refurbishment, creating thousands of new jobs and significantly cutting carbon emissions.

"Both Government and opposition parties have voiced their support for the principles of a scheme like this - what's needed is to get on with it."

Sam Bond



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