I feel like I’ve missed some previous news on this Green Deal lark – it’s only pierced my consciousness this morning!  (I really must pay a bit more attention to current affairs!)

So, under this new (or not-so-new, for those who bother to keep up….sorry!) initiative, private firms (apparently B&Q are in the frame) will provide homes with energy efficient improvements, the cost of which will form a sort of extra bit on your energy bills.  The idea is that your energy bills themselves will be lower owing to the improvements, and so your overall bill (include the loan part) will be equal to or lower than your original energy bill would have been without the improvements.  And the loan is attached not to the individual, but to the home itself – so if you move on, and another owner or tenant moves in, they then take over responsibility for the loan as they now enjoy the benefits the improvements provide.

Sounds absolutely fab in theory, and gets round the argument: “oh, I’d love to install solar panels/extra insulation/new windows etc but the upfront cost just isn’t worth it because we won’t be here long enough to benefit”.  OK yes, you can see some potential problems.  Will it affect the housing market if people are put off buying a property which has one of these outstanding loans attached to it?  What if the person who had the house before you defaulted on payments?  (In theory they would treat them in the same way as someone who didn’t pay their utility bill, but I have no doubt it would become more complicated than that.)  What if some of the energy efficient gadgets and strategies don’t work as they should and your energy consumption doesn’t drop enough to compensate for the loan repayment?

As non owner-occupiers, I’m pleased to see that, in theory at least, the scheme applies to tenants as well as home owners (bill-payers I think), though I’m not sure how it works if you’re a tenant – presumably you must have the home owner’s permission.  And if you were the owner of a property which you let and you wanted to take advantage of the scheme you have to make sure your tenants bought into the idea.

But overall, sounds like a positive step in the right direction.  It’ll be interesting to see how well it’s received by the general public.

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/legislation/energybill/1010-green-deal-summary-proposals.pdf

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