Knauf Insulation is calling on the government to recognise that the scheme is “missing its mark” and that action is needed to prevent it from total collapse.
The latest statistics, released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), show that the 38,259 assessments completed up to 16 June have resulted in only 245 Green Deal plans, of which just four have been signed.
The conversion rate from assessment to agreed Green Deal loan is therefore only 0.01%.
A further 5,118 cash-back vouchers have been issued for self-financed installations, delivered by providers such as British Gas, which enable householders to pay for measures out of their own pocket and claim back the cost. However, as Knauf Insulation points out, these measures do not constitute Green Deal loans and fail to meet the key ambition of the scheme – which is to facilitate the whole house retrofits that are badly needed to deliver both carbon and financial savings.
What’s more, as many of these installations are boiler replacements that would have taken place anyway, the scheme is in danger of becoming a government subsidy for those that can afford to pay for measures up-front.
John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “It is time for the government to open its eyes. If there is to be any chance of meeting the 14 million homes by 2020 target, a tangible and compelling incentive is urgently required. DECC’s own research, issued earlier this week, showed that 47% of the households they surveyed had or were planning to install one or more of the measures detailed in their Green Deal Advice Report. However, only a measly 8% of these were to be funded up-front through the Green Deal itself.
“While these figures show there is an appetite for energy efficiency refurbishments, they also show that the Green Deal is clearly missing the mark with consumers. If the government is to avoid throwing away this significant opportunity then it must act now to introduce real incentives.
“For me, the most effective solution would be linking stamp duty levels to a property’s energy efficiency as this would encourage both the buyer and vendor to consider energy performance as part of the sales process. Indeed, this would incentivise estate agents, surveyors and even mortgage advisors to promote energy efficiency retrofits, offering even more bites at the cherry.
“Secondly, the cash backs and incentives that are currently allocated to Green Deal alone should be widened to cover all generic energy efficiency retrofits, giving consumers the freedom to choose the most appropriate solution for them. If Green Deal is not the route they choose, then the mechanics of the scheme must be developed and adapted until it truly is a competitive and appealing offering.”
Mr Sinfield’s attitude echoes that of Britain’s biggest business group. Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy, said: “While it is still early days for the Green Deal, this is a wake-up call to the Government that they need to do more to help get this scheme off the ground. The Green Deal has real potential to help businesses and households manage their energy bills, and the Government must explore all possible options to attract more consumers.”