The first official Green Deal figures have been released by the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) amid suggestions that the general public is failing to take up the funding options available.
The key highlights of the results, released today (27 June), are as follows:
John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, agreed that the cash-back offering should be expanded. He said: "The cash-backs and incentives that are currently allocated to Green Deal alone should be widened to cover all generic energy efficiency retrofits, giving consumers the freedom to choose the most appropriate solution for them."
He also argued: “It is time for the government to open its eyes. If there is to be any chance of meeting the '14 million homes by 2020' target, a tangible and compelling incentive is urgently required. For me, the most effective solution would be linking Stamp Duty levels to a property’s energy efficiency, as this would encourage both the buyer and vendor to consider energy performance as part of the sales process. Indeed, this would incentivise estate agents, surveyors and even mortgage advisors to promote energy efficiency retrofits, offering even more bites at the cherry.”
Minister for Energy & Climate Change Greg Barker said: "Today we've seen that 81,798 installations have taken place with the support of the new Energy Company Obligation, helping those most in need or with particularly hard-to-treat properties – but this is just the start. The 38,259 Green Deal assessments are also a clear sign that many consumers genuinely want to make their homes more efficient, but we are keen to do more.
"Seventy-eight percent of people who have received a Green Deal Advice Report, following a Green Deal assessment, said they had got, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed. This too is a great sign.
"Getting software systems running and finance into place for Green Deal plans to be signed has taken time, so the numbers here are lower. The very first wave of Green Deal Finance Providers have only just got their individual finance terms and conditions in place and gone live with their software systems. However, now the first five are up and running, the good news is that we expect up to 50 authorised finance providers to be active by the end of the year, massively increasing the access to finance in the market.
While thousands of assessments have been carried out since the GD scheme began in January, anecdotal evidence provided by some of the companies involved suggest that many homeowners are then failing to take up GD loans, which carry a 7% interest rate.
British Gas says it has so far carried out approximately 11,000 GD assessments, but of that number, only 200 people have taken up the loans - less than 2% of the total. Carillion, which is running a £1.6 billion Energy Savers Scheme in Birmingham, has carried out 680 assessments, but has only signed one GD plan. The company said 11 other people have had a plan which has not yet been signed, and that a further 95 have had a Green Deal plan priced.
These figures fall far short of DECC's previous estimate that a third of all those people who ask for a GD assessment would then go through with a Green Deal.
A glimmer of hope does exist, however, in the fact that 6,000 of the people who had GD assessments carried out by British Gas - just over half the total amount - went on to fund some of the recommended energy efficiency improvements themselves, accessing the cashback scheme the government has introduced to encourage early take-up.
Minister Greg Barker described it as "impressive" that people have decided to do it themselves.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: "Now we have evidence that GD assessments are leading to householders investing in energy-saving measures."