Green Deal should be extended to include water efficiency, says Green Alliance
The Government should expand its popular Green Deal support scheme to include water efficiency, according to a new report from environmental think-tank Green Alliance.
The report - Cutting the cost of water: The case for improving water efficiency in the UK - finds that UK water prices are set to rise thanks a growing population, more one-person households and increasingly common extreme weather events.
The Alliance, which works with influential leaders from the NGO, business, and political communities, says the best way to mitigate this growing water stress is to utilise the existing infrastructure of the Green Deal to address water efficiency in homes, where the UK gets through 150 litres per person per day – 50% more than some of our Northern European neighbours.
"We need to make the most of retrofitting opportunities like the Green Deal," said a Green Alliance blog released alongside the new report. "There won't be many opportunities to upgrade households around the UK, so we need to ensure each visit is delivering as much as possible. For a small extra sum, Waterwise estimates it would cost just £70 to install water efficiency measures and this could be added into the Green Deal financing."
The report highlights several simple ways in which Brits can conserve water, including reduced-flow showers, dual flush toilets or even simple metering, which could save a household £78 a year by itself. As well as saving water, these measures reduce the carbon emissions associated with heating.
"Coming up is a massive opportunity that could help increase water saliency and start us on a trajectory to water efficiency," reads the blog. "The Green Deal is being promoted by DECC as an energy efficiency measure, and there is reluctance to open it up wider. Yet, as water has a large associated carbon footprint, its inclusion could be justified on carbon grounds alone. Leaving it out would limit our ability to address a fifth of household emissions."
Earlier this week, DECC announced that UK households are to be given more time to make subsidised energy efficiency improvements by extending the deadline for the first phase vouchers to receive Green Deal support, to 31 March.
Around £120m of vouchers, offering up to £7,600 off energy-saving measures, were snapped up when the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund first opened in July last year. A subsequent release of £24m worth of additional vouchers at the end of 2014 went in just two days.
Video: Saving water in everyday life