Once people heard about our project they suggested we were in line for lots of help from the Green Deal (government website). We looked at it and very quickly decided it was not for us. For a start you have to borrow money at 4% above the rate of inflation. It is about the same margin above the interest you can earn on cash ISA.
It is also well above current mortgage interest rates. In other words, if you want to make your home more energy-efficient look for other sources of money first.
The idea must have sounded great in a Whitehall brainstorming meeting: “Lets have a scheme where people insulate their homes with no up-front payments and pay back the costs from savings on their fuel bills.”
As always the devil is in the detail. The Guardian has a good piece headed “Green deal home insulation programme ‘unlikely to deliver promises’“. It says:
The government’s flagship “green deal” home insulation programme provides no guarantee of saving money for cash-strapped households, and is unlikely to rescue many from fuel poverty, experts warned ahead of its formal launch on Monday.
The sense of doubt and confusion surrounding the policy was reinforced by a warning from a surveyors’ trade body that taking out a green deal loan could cost more than other ways of making home energy efficiency improvements.
There are all sorts of disincentives in the programme — cost of an assessment and early repayment penalties among them.
And it offers no foreseeable financial benefit (loans can run for up to 25 years) for the people it should be helping most: the increasing numbers of people facing fuel poverty. The evidence in a rural areas like Mid Suffolk is that their numbers are rising rapidly.
At present there are few Green Deal providers. I went to the website and put in my postcode to find local businesses. Up came a healthy nine companies. One name I recognised as being based in Suffolk. I clicked on four others. There were in Doncaster, Reading, North Yorkshire and Newbury.
Personally, I want to see as much of the work being done by local people so that employment benefits flow back into the local economy.
Yet the Guardian writes about one Essex company which cannot be a part of the Green Deal because of an insistence that Green Deal companies must provide a full range of services.
To sum up: the Green Deal sucks.