The first report on the to come out since the scheme’s closure in July has called for a new energy efficiency policy to offer homeowners low interest loans guaranteed by the Government to be used for improvements on their homes.
‘After the Green Deal: Empowering people and places to improve their homes’ claims a ‘Help to Improve’ scheme could operate similar to the current Help to Buy initiative with the Government guaranteeing the cost of homeowner investment with a reduced interest rate linked to take-up of the scheme.
The report, from Westminster think tank ResPublica, says Britain’s current energy efficiency policy has failed, with the number of home-owners fitting energy saving measures in their homes plummeting in recent years and the industries supplying them have suffered low demand and job losses.
It claims the Green Deal, which marked a ‘radical overhaul’ of the existing system in early 2013, failed to promote engagement among the public; focused too much on enabling consumers to retrofit their homes instead of encouraging them; and did not offer a clear and appealing loans scheme.
It says: “To effectively engage consumers in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we need to focus on what consumers actually want. A multitude of factors motivate people to improve the energy efficiency of their home. The proposition espoused by the Green Deal, solely based on financial savings, failed to take into account this broader narrative. It ignored the much greater aspirations that people have for themselves in their home: comfort, well-being and health.”
Phillip Blond, director of ResPublica, said: “Consumers need help to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This report outlines workable ways to help homeowners take control of improving the energy efficiency of their homes.”
In a series of ‘bold and innovative policy recommendations’, the report calls on the Government to set an overarching ambition and a long-term trajectory for energy efficiency improvements in the UK. This would take the form of gradually increasing minimum EPC standards for all domestic properties being sold or let, similar to legislation governing rental properties due to come into force in 2018.
ResPublica’s report also suggests a new system for reducing the amount of stamp duty paid on homes that make energy improvements. It says homeowners who make their homes more energy efficient before selling them should pay less in stamp duty.
Within a total of eight policy recommendations, ‘After the Green Deal’ also calls for a portion of national infrastructure funds to be devolved to cities to invest in their own energy efficiency schemes via an open competition.
The report has already gained support from a number of high profile figures. Angus MacNeil MP, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our homes can help to create warm homes and reduce bills for consumers. ResPublica’s report sets out an ambitious programme to replace the Green Deal and revive the UK’s faltering energy efficiency market. It should receive serious consideration from across the political spectrum.”
Sarah Kostense-Winterton, executive director of the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association, added: “The Government is rightly rethinking energy efficiency and energy secretary Amber Rudd has called on industry to work with Government to deliver a structure that provides value for money to the exchequer, tackles the priority issues of fuel poverty and carbon reduction and empowers consumers to keep their bills down. ResPublica’s recommendations do just that.
“We urge the Government to embrace the policy recommendations outlined in this report and commit to investing in delivering better homes and better lives.”