Blink and you might have missed Green Deal Home Improvement Fund

GDHIFThe majority of the second phase of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) closed after just 30 hours following huge demand for solid wall insulation (SWI) funding.

Up to œ24m was made available for SWI at 9:00am on Wednesday December 10 but was allocated by 2:40pm the following day, despite technical problems with DECC’s website marring the GDHIF’s second launch. Almost 6,000 applications were completed, with 5,882 solely for SWI funding. As of Friday December 12, 128 vouchers had been issued, with DECC claiming that those successful in the applications would be informed in coming weeks.

At the time of writing, applications were still open for the Fund’s remaining œ6m, which is available to those looking to install other energy efficiency measures offered by the GDHIF.

Amber Rudd, parliamentary under secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said:
“The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has been incredibly popular – it’s helping thousands of people have warmer homes and more control of their energy bills. Although the fund for solid wall insulation is fully allocated, there’s still money available now for a range of other measures and another release of funding is expected in February.”

Following the controversy surrounding the first phase of the GDHIF, which saw œ120m swallowed in around six weeks between June and July 2014, DECC has staggered the second phase into quarterly releases. Another œ30m of the œ100m available is due for release in February 2015, when households in England and Wales will once again have the chance to apply for funding.

Speaking to Roofzine, a spokesperson for DECC said:
“The intention in staggering the release is that it gives people time to make up their minds and decide if they need to do the work, especially when that work is over winter. Often people need a winter to see how cold or otherwise [their property is]. That way, it’s nice to have the release again in February.

“It’s just to give people time really, and also gives the trade time. That’s the idea behind us staggering the funds instead of letting it go all at once.”

However, this strategy has been heavily criticised in the past. Following the first closure of the GDHIF in July , Jenny Holland, head of the Association for the Conservation of Energy’s (ACE) parliamentary team, said: “In the wake of the decimation of ECO and the failure of the Green Deal to generate significant take-up, the last thing the energy efficiency industry needs is this kind of stop-start programme.

“This is bad news for an industry that is looking for policy certainty and consistency – not a relentless pattern of peaks and troughs in demand.”

Despite DECC’s claims that ring-fencing the funding available gives the insulation and energy efficiency sectors time to prepare for the pipeline of work resulting from the GDHIF, the
“feast-and-famine” approach as it has been called in the past is unlikely to gain industry support.

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