Only one in five homeowners is likely to participate in the Green Deal, according to research commissioned by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
More than 1,200 respondents contributed to the research, commissioned by BSI, which has monitored perceptions of the Green Deal throughout the first half of 2012.
Some 89% of those who responded said they would require more information from independent third parties about the initiative before purchasing Green Deal accredited products and services.
In response to the public uncertainty, BSI is developing a Kitemark for Energy Efficient Buildings (EBB) to certify Green Deal products, advisors and installers. A trusted symbol of quality, the new Kitemark is intended to enhance consumer understanding of the initiative, reassure homeowners about the quality of the various Green Deal suppliers, and give people the confidence to take part in the scheme.
BSI, originator of the Kitemark, found that nearly 70% of those surveyed were aware of the Kitemark as a trusted source of environmental guidance. More than half of those surveyed also said that they were likely to use Kitemark accredited products and services as it symbolises independent accreditation.
These latest insights reinforce the view that by applying the Kitemark to their offering, retailers can increase sales by helping consumers identify products and services that comply with the Green Deal.
Following successful completion of the pilot BSI will be working closely with its clients to highlight the benefits of the scheme. In doing so, the aim is for retailers to reassure customers and encourage their participation in the scheme to make it a success.
Maureen Sumner Smith, global marketing director, said: “There is a strong appetite for green initiatives among UK consumers, but our survey demonstrates the need for support and guidance surrounding the Green Deal.
“Retailers will be crucial to making the scheme a success and providing consumers with the education and certified products they need. We will work in partnership with our clients, to support them as they rollout their Kitemark range, ultimately helping the Government meet its 2020 sustainability objectives.”
Vince Matthews, head of marketing at SIG Energy Management, added: "The news from the BSI that only one in five homeowners are set to participate in the Green Deal raises two key questions: why there is such a lack of interest in the government’s ‘flagship’ green policy, and whose job it is to rectify this problem?
"There has been a lot of criticism over the Government’s apparent lack of preparedness for the Green Deal, and in particular what the Coalition is or isn’t doing to incentivise the uptake of energy efficiency measures. We need to appreciate, however, that we can’t expect them to do it all for us. In reality, the industry has an equally important role to play in generating interest and consumer buy-in.
"While the core principle of the Green Deal, the Golden Rule, is a valuable incentive in removing the financial risk associated with energy efficiency home improvements, it is not the be all and end all when it comes to creating customer demand. A significant barrier to desire for uptake is also the ‘hassle-factor’: the fear of disruption associated with having improvement works done.
"We, the industry, need to educate consumers – whether they be private homeowners or social landlords – that most providers are eager to make the Green Deal work, and will go the extra mile to ensure a customer’s project goes smoothly. Whether by offering advice on preparation for installations or providing removals services as part of the installation package, there are ways that installers can mitigate disruption caused by improvement works. Ultimately, however, we also need to communicate to consumers that the benefits of increased comfort and reduced energy bills far outweigh any perceived hassle.
"Of course we need clarity from the government on the details of the Green Deal to put us in a position to deliver these services to our customers – but the onus for creating demand and desire is on us just as much as it is the government. The industry needs to offer support and guidance, show we understand the customer journey and have the requisite skills to provide trustworthy advice and an integrated service from start to finish. Only by doing this will homeowners have the understanding and desire to get behind the Green Deal.”