The Green Deal, set to start in autumn 2012 and is currently being discussed in Parliament, will mean households will be able to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost and repay through the expected savings on energy bills.
The trials will test how best to encourage people to take up the Green Deal.
The measures being adopted b y businesses and local authorities are outlined in a new report from the government’s Behavioural Insights Team – known as the ‘nudge unit’ – and will be carried out and evaluated in time for the national roll out of the Green Deal.
Examples of the trials include:
• B&Q and Sutton Council are considering offering a subsidised loft clearance service to test whether removing the ‘hassle’ factor of insulation motivates people to make efficiency improvements. The unwanted contents of the loft clearance will be donated to local charities. B&Q will also test the impact of offering collective purchasing discounts to households for buying energy efficient products.
• Homebase and Carillion will team up with a local authority to test the impact of offering immediate rewards to residents for purchasing energy efficiency measures. The offer will include a one month’s council tax holiday or vouchers to spend in store.
• First Utility / Opower will be conducting a randomised controlled trial to investigate the effect of behavioural feedback – including comparative consumption – on consumer energy use.
• Government will work with British Gas and Alert Me to investigate which channels of communication most effectively motivate consumers to save energy.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne said: “The Green Deal’s going to be a real hit and will be a fantastic way for people to upgrade their draughty and energy-wasting homes.
“But there are currently too many barriers standing in the way of people upgrading their homes – the cost, the hassle, and the lack of trust in the people who install the kit.
“It’s great that high street names are getting involved at this early stage to road-test these exciting ideas about how to make it easier for people to take up the Green Deal and insulate their homes from rising energy prices.”