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Everything you need to know about the Green Deal

Dr Paula Owen sets out ten important facts about the government's Green Deal - launched today -that every homeowner should know.

So, apparently the Green Deal starts today! Although you would be easily forgiven for not noticing, given the government has singly failed to produce any educational or marketing strategies to inform the British public and help them navigate through the novel, innovative and, frankly, often confusing aspects of the scheme.

So, if you are still feeling confused about what on earth this new ‘Green Deal’ is, and whether it is for you or not, read our top ten vital facts now:

1.     All home-owners, whatever the age or condition of their home, can benefit from the Green Deal. As a rule of thumb however, older, harder-to-treat homes will tend to benefit more from the measures available, as one of its aims is to bring the traditionally more expensive measures that are associated with older properties within people’s reach for the first time.

2.     The measures available under the Green Deal focus primarily on improving the thermal efficiency of the home. So measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation; internal and external solid wall insulation; highly efficient heating systems; double glazing and other such products will be popular. Although renewable generating technologies are to be included too. In total there will be 30-40 measures available under the Green Deal

3.    From today, homeowners can arrange for an  in-home visit from a qualified Green Deal assessor who will produce a report that explains which GD approved products are suitable for the property and supply the home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

4.     The first novel aspect of the scheme is that home-owners will not have to pay any money upfront for the Green Deal measures installed in their home. You will need to wait until 1st January until you can take any action, when the green deal is fully up and running.

5.     The householder will, in effect, take out a loan, typically at between 6-8% interest, that is paid back to the Green Deal supplier over a period of time that is dependent on the type of measure installed. More expensive measures will correspondingly take longer to repay.

6.     The ‘Golden Rule’ is the second new, innovative aspect of the scheme. This states that the typical householder should not have to repay the Green Deal loan at a higher annual total amount that they are predicted to save through their heating bill. Hence, there may not be a net reduction in the heating bill, but the home will be warmer and cheaper to heat and the GD loan will be being paid off simultaneously for no extra outlay. When it is paid off, the householder then receives the full benefit of a warmer home plus lower bills.

7.     A third novel aspect of the scheme is that the GD loan stay with the home, not the individual, so if you sell and move on, the new owner will take up the re-payment scheme. Only fair as they will be benefitting from the existence of these measures in their new home.  But the mortgage companies have not yet decided whether a green deal charge could reduce the value of the properties – they are waiting for more details from government.

8.     A confusing aspect of the scheme is, although in the majority of cases, homeowners are reducing their heating bills, typically gas, the repayments for the Green Deal loan will in all cases be seen on the electricity bill

9.     It is hoped that, in time, Green Deal offers can be provided by a wide range of large and small companies. This is not a scheme exclusively for the main energy suppliers. Householders will be able, if they wish, to choose a Green Deal supplier who is local to them and independent of the big 6 energy companies.

10.   The energy suppliers’ obligation, renamed ‘ECO’, which will provide certain groups with subsidised efficiency measures, will be able to be used to help part fund the more expensive measures.

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