Green Deal gold rush: Home Improvement Fund snapped up after one day
A £24m Home Improvement Fund budget lasted just over 24 hours before the cash was fully allocated thanks to a glut of applications.
On Wednesday (10 December), Decc launched the second phase of its Green Deal, with £24m of a £30m fund allocated to solid wall insulation and the other £6m earmarked for energy efficiency upgrades, such as double glazing and floor insulation.
However, this morning Decc confirmed that the solid-wall insulation money was already gone, with Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd saying that the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund had proved "incredibly popular".
"Although the fund for solid wall insulation is fully allocated, there's still money available now for a range of other measures and another release of funding is expected in February," said Rudd. "More than three quarters of a million homes have already had energy saving improvements installed as a result of the Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal."
While the scheme is clearly attractive to consumers, industry experts were less enthusiastic.
UK Green Building Council policy and public affairs officer Richard Twinn said: "This is a clear illustration of the stop-start policy regime around energy efficiency. These piecemeal pots of funding may be generous for householders but create uncertainty to the industry from one week to the next.
"As one of the most expensive measures, it's no wonder funding for solid wall insulation has proved so popular. Solid walled properties are among the oldest and least energy efficient, and have received little support from other Government schemes.
"This latest gold rush will have been exacerbated by the high profile around the sudden closure of the previous funding over the summer. Government need to learn from this ongoing debacle that we need long term drivers for energy efficiency - such as linking Stamp Duty - to avoid this constant boom and bust."
The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund was launched in June to incentivise homeowners to implement energy efficiency improvements and provided vouchers for more than 20,000 households. In August, the Fund was closed because funding allocated for the entire year had been spent in the first two months.
The latest injection of £30m is part of a £100m boost announced by Energy Secretary Ed Davey in October as a 'step change on energy efficiency' - additional to the £450m already allocated to households between 2014 and 2017.