Interest falls in Green Deal as installers jump ship

New figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have suggested that interest in the Green Deal is sinking, with the number of Green Deal Assessments (GDAs) and Green Deal installers falling.

Despite proving to have been the most widely used part of the Green Deal scheme since it began in January 2013, only 16,439 GDAs were carried out in April 2015. This is 40% lower than the previous month and represents the largest month on month decrease since the start of the Green Deal.

The number of Green Deal accredited installers also decreased in April for the eighth consecutive month since its peak of 2,774 at the end of August 2014 to 2,220 at the end of April 2015.

Since the scheme began, 13,355 households have undertaken Green Deal Plans, with over half of them ‘live’, meaning all measures have been installed. This is well below the initial estimates for take-up of the Green Deal, with former minister of state for DECC Greg Barker famously calling his predictions of 10,000 active Green Deal plans by the end of 2013 “spectacularly wrong.”

The Government has tried to reinvigorate the scheme through the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), which has so far released œ180m in funding over three different releases. By the end of April 2015, there were 40,768 active applications under these releases, with just over 19,000 vouchers – worth œ96.5m – paid out so far.

Many working within or alongside the energy efficiency sector have called for the Government to either reform or scrap the Green Deal, with Ray Horwood, current chief executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), recently calling for the Government to ‘tear up the Green Deal’.

Speaking to Roofzine in April 2015 about what the priorities of the new Government should be, Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “After the catastrophic failure of the Green Deal, we need to see a much more ambitious plan for tackling low energy efficiency levels of out existing homes.”

With the new Government in place, and a new figurehead at DECC in the form of Amber Rudd, the industry is looking for action in terms of improving the Government’s struggling initiative.

In an exclusive article for RCI’s upcoming June issue, Chris Hopkins, managing director of Brighouse-based energy efficiency specialist, Ploughcroft Eco-Roof, said: “The appointment of Amber Rudd as secretary of state for DECC is the chance for the Government to finally get it right when it comes to the Green Deal. While well-meaning, the scheme simply hasn’t been structured, communicated or delivered in the most effective way by the previous Coalition Government, something we passionately want to change.

“Despite the mistakes made along the way, the Green Deal has the potential to be incredibly positive for the UK, improving old and cold homes and saving millions each year. Amber Rudd in her new role now has the opportunity to make it work, and we should all urge her to ensure that 2015 is the year that the Green Deal truly reaches tipping point.”

Roofzine contacted DECC to find out when the next installment of the GDHIF funding would be released, but no date has yet been set. DECC also failed to comment on the falling number of GDAs and registered Green Deal installers.

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