The phrase 'Green Deal' has been bandied about a lot recently with the government promoting it as the key tactic in making the UK's ageing infrastructure more energy efficient.
That's all well and good, but how does the Green Deal actually work? After all, the scheme is designed to offer an upfront loan to pay for upgrades which is then repaid in installments through energy bills.
But how does that happen? Who assesses the amount your upgrades will cost? Who decides how much you will need to pay back? That's where the Green Deal Assessors come in.
What is a Green Deal Assessor?
A Green Deal assessor, also known as a Green Deal advisor, is the person who will carry out your Green Deal assessment. Green Deal assessors can work as sole traders if they are certified by the Green Deal Certification Body, or as part of a Green Deal organisation. Despite this, they are supposed to be impartial, and ensure that any work that is recommended follows the 'Golden Rule' - meaning any work that is carried will save you more on your energy bills that it costs.
You must have any intended work looked into by an assessor prior to signing anything to qualify for a Green Deal loan. However, the assessor you use need to be the same as your Green Deal provider.
Some assessors will try and offer you the assessment for free if you agree to undertake the energy-saving upgrades through them, though this isn't necessarily the most cost-effective solution.
Though the typical cost of a Green Deal assessment is around £120 prices do vary, so do your research to find the best possible deal. What's more, there may be money available from your local council to pay for the assessments, or you may get the money back from your local council later on.
What will my Green Deal Assessor do?
Your Green Deal Advisor is qualified to make recommendations of what measures would be most suitable for your home. During their visit, the Green Deal assessor will note any energy-saving measures that your house could use to improve its energy efficiency (and lower your bills!). There is a full list below, but Green Deal measurements include energy-saving improvements like insulation, or replacing an old boiler.
He or she will visit you and provide you with your Green Deal Advice Report, which is comprised of an Occupancy Assessment and an Energy Performance Certificate.
What is on my Green Deal Advice Report?
Your Green Deal Assessor will give you two documents: one is called the Occupancy Assessment and other is called an Energy Performance Certificate, otherwise known as the EPC.
The Occupancy Assessment will tell you how much you stand to save from the Green Deal based on your energy use, as well as recommendations for what improvements can be made for your home under the Green Deal. It will also advise you on how you can use energy in your home more efficiently.
The Energy Performance Certificate gives your home a rating from A to G based on how energy efficient your home is.
What will the Green Deal Advisor recommend?
There is a long list of what is included on the Green Deal, but your assessor is likely to recommend one of the following depending on your energy use and how inefficient your home is:
Heating your home
- Condensing boilers
- Heating controls
- Under-floor heating
- Heat recovery systems
- Mechanical ventilation (non-domestic)
- Flue gas recovery devices
- Ground and air source heat pumps
Insulating your home
- Cavity wall insulation
- Loft insulation
- Flat roof insulation
- Internal wall insulation
- External wall insulation
- Draught proofing
- Floor insulation
- Heating system insulation (cylinder, pipes)
- Energy efficient glazing and doors
Lighting your home
- Lighting fittings
- Lighting controls
Heating your water
- Innovative hot water systems
- Water efficient taps
- Water efficient showers
- Ground and air source heat pumps
- Solar thermal
- Solar PV
- Biomass boilers
Where can I find a Green Deal Advisor?
You can find a Green Deal Advisor by visiting the government website, which you can find at http://greendealorb.co.uk/consumersearch.
Do I need a Green Deal Assessment to qualify for the Green Deal?
Yes. You will not be able to apply for any financing without a qualified Green Deal Assessor and the subsequent assessment. This is because a he or she is qualified to spot where your house is in need of energy efficiency measures and the best solutions.
Can I improve the efficiency of my home without the Green Deal?
Yes. The Green Deal is simply a fancy way of paying for your energy-saving upgrades that takes into account that upfront costs for things like solar panels can be high, and savings only occur in the future. It is designed to help you pay for these upgrades, but is by no means a requirement.
If you want to install loft insulation, solar panels, or a wind turbine for instance you are free to do so and pay for the costs yourself. With solar-panels you may even be able to have them installed for free, although you do then forfeit any earnings made through the 'Feed-in Tariff' scheme.
Many energy-saving upgrades are also subsidised by government's for those on low incomes or state benefits. If you are in a low income household it may be worth checking with you local council first to see if you qualify for free or discounted insulation.
Finally, some of the most cost-effective energy-saving measures like loft insulation and draught-proofing are relatively cheap and easy to install yourself.