You may have heard the phrase 'Green Deal' being bandied around in the media thanks to the government promoting it as the best way to improve our ageing housing stock and reduce carbon emissions.
That may be the case, but what makes the ideas behind the Green Deal come to life? By now most of us know the core function of the Green Deal – to pay for large upfront costs of energy-saving upgrades whilst recouping those costs through energy bills which will, hopefully, be reduced – but that doesn't mean we know how it works.
So actually looks into how much your upgrades will cost? Who looks at your repayment costs and decides what you will pay on your bill and how? That is 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 an Green Deal organisation.
Despite this, they are supposed to be impartial, and ensure that any work that is recommended follows the 'Golden Rule' - that any work that is carried will save you more on your energy bills that it costs.
Crucially you can't just agree to energy-saving upgrades and sign up with a Green Deal provider: you must have an assessor look into your property first an make recommendations.
Assessors can cost around £120 but many assessors also provide the upgrades and work themselves, or through a third-party, and will offer you a discount or free assessment if you agree to have the work done through them.
As with all things you're probably better off getting a number of quotations from a variety of providers before agreeing to the upgrades. It's likely that whatever discount offered to you by the assessor will be dwarfed by savings you could be on overall costs.
Similarly you may be able to get a discount or rebate on your Green Deal assessment through your local council. Always shop around and do your research to find the best deal.
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).
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? Do I need one?
You can find a Green Deal Advisor by visiting the government website, which you can find at here.
You will not be able to apply for any financing without a qualified Green Deal Assessor and the subsequent assessment.
Do I have to use the Green Deal to make improvements?
No, not at all. The Green Deal offers you an alternative way to pay for your energy-saving upgrades, but that doesn't mean you can't just buy solar panels or have insulation installed yourself. In some cases it may even work out cheaper.
If you're having solar panels installed for instance you could have them installed for free, depending on your home and providers in your area, thanks to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme. The FiT scheme pays you for the energy you generate, but if you promise your payments to the installer and simply take advantage of the free energy, you can get them installed for free.
Similarly some of the most cost-effective energy-saving solutions are also cheap and easy to install. Loft installation and draught-proofing for example can both be done DiY with a bit of research and a visit to your local hardware shop.