Green deal could see ‘energy bills rise’

There is a danger that the Green Deal will not make the savings claimed because the scheme focuses too much on technology and not enough on peoples behaviour, says Malcolm Anderson from the National Trust.

The Green Deal is expected to improve the environmental performance of 14 million homes and other buildings but the Government’s emphasis on technology and lack of clarity has encouraged a growing list of sceptics to speak up.

Speaking to edie today, environmental practices adviser for the National Trust, Malcolm Anderson, said that locating high energy consumption and maintaining a property should be the first steps to becoming a more energy efficient building.

“The first thing is to understand where your energy is being used and this doesn’t require hoards of hugely qualified green deal assessors rummaging around historical buildings. There is real basic stuff here around understanding where the energy is being used in the property and actually looking at controls on boilers and at the very basic stuff”.

Anderson added that making simple repairs, such as external decoration and draught proofing, are measures that can significantly reduce energy consumption without the need for expensive systems.

“We don’t always need significant physical interventions in the building fabric; it’s more about taking care of the little things such as making repairs to doors and windows and monitoring our timers and controls”.

According to the Government, the Green Deal financial mechanism eliminates the need to pay upfront for energy efficiency measures and instead provides “reassurances that the cost of the measures should be covered by savings on the electricity bill”.

However, Anderson pointed out that the scheme currently relies too heavily on the introduction of technology and energy efficient systems and lacks a focus on behavioural change.

“The thing that worries me about the Green Deal is that they’re throwing technology at buildings without tackling what people do in the buildings”.

“We have to hope that lessons will be learnt as the Green Deal develops and that more emphasis can be put on behavioural factors in the future.  As fuel costs continue to spiral it may be that achieving behavioural change becomes easier”, he added.

Others have been concerned over the lack of consumer protection the Green Deal provides. Earlier this month a group of 20 consumer advice bodies, charities, trade associations and building industry organisations urged the Government to tackle the risk of rogue traders cashing in on the Green Deal scheme.

Leigh Stringer

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