A YouGov poll of more than 5,000 energy consumers in the UK has revealed a startling fact: proportionally few people have heard of the Green Deal, which is scheduled to launch on Monday.
Described by Greg Barker, the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, as the “most ambitious home improvement programme since the Second World War”, the Green Deal provides a framework for those who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Under the scheme, homeowners can take out loans for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, double glazing and other energy-efficient home improvements including the installation of renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels. Any such loan is tied to the property itself rather than the homeowner.
Although the Green Deal seems to provide a good incentive for homeowners to implement green changes at the domestic level, which is necessary on a large scale if the UK hopes to satisfy its long-term carbon emission targets, the scheme appears to have flown under the radar of energy customers.
The YouGov poll, which was commissioned by uSwitch, revealed that 81 per cent of respondents had not even heard of the Green Deal, whilst half of those who did saw non-refundable assessment fees as the main barrier to ordering work under the scheme. Earlier this month, an investigation carried out by the Guardian revealed that the majority of government-listed domestic assessors plan to charge upfront fees for home assessments.
Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger criticised the government for failing to kindle public interest in the Green Deal.
As quoted by the Guardian, Ms Berger said: “It’s very worrying that so few people have heard of the Green Deal just days before it finally goes live. This is yet another example of the government’s shambolic handling of the scheme’s launch.
“To be successful, the Green Deal must be a good deal for the public. Unfortunately, it looks like high-interest rates on Green Deal loans will leave many paying back more than twice the upfront cost of the measures they install”.
Mr Barker responded by insisting that the Green Deal would not be an “overnight success”. Instead, the Energy and Climate Minister believes that interest in the scheme will develop gradually. The Green Deal launches on the 28th January.