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Green Deal consultation be cautious, TRADA warns

19 December 2011
 After some delays the Green Deal Consultation is now available, but there is only a short review period until 18th January 2012. Comprising 26 documents, with 238 pages and 63 questions in the main document, there is much to absorb. And although an executive summary is included, it misses some important points hidden in the body of the consultation.

So warns TRADA in a new Construction Briefing The Green Deal, which summarises the details of the consultation in a logical format and identifies areas requiring feedback. ‘With this as a basis it should make it easier to identify key sections of the consultation for further reading,‘ said Membership & Marketing Manager Rupert Scott.

The Green Deal is a market led framework that aims to allow individuals and businesses to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings at no upfront cost. Central to it is a finance mechanism that will allow access to the finance needed for the improvements, with repayment, in instalments, attached to the electricity bill.

Underpinning the delivery of the Green Deal is the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which will place one or more obligations on energy companies, requiring them to generate a specific amount of credit by facilitating the installation of energy efficiency measures in homes in Great Britain before a set deadline. ECO has been designed to fit within the Green Deal framework and provide support, in the domestic sector, where Green Deal finance alone is not enough.

There will be much to excite the timber sector, Mr Scott added. ‘The construction industry is very keen to see a mechanism for incentivising homeowners to upgrade the fabric of their homes and timber certainly stands to gain much from upgrading the thermal performance of houses, from simple functional battens to exciting decorative timber cladding rainscreens.'

The new world of the Green Deal, however, is very complicated.  ‘We would urge members to respond to the consultation, so have produced this timely briefing to help the timber industry and specifiers alike to find their way around all the new terminology and to see what business opportunities may come from it.'

That said, the focus of the consultation seems to be on the mechanism of operation, with limited attention paid to implementation, including the process for approving products and systems or certifying installers. And as TRADA points out in its briefing, ‘Some timeframes are included which would seem ambitious, unless significant resource is made available.'

The Construction Briefing highlights several key points, including:

  • A process for manufacturers and suppliers to submit their products will not be available until March 2012, with the list operational by summer 2012 - giving very little time for products and process to be included in the assessment mechanism.
  • No details are given as to how Green Deal Installers for different systems (eg cavity wall insulation, photovoltaics, biomass boilers) will be differentiated.
  • Although the Green Deal Finance Company has been announced, no reference is made to it or to how finance will be sourced, in the consultation.
  • No Government mechanism has been identified to encourage take-up. It seems to be relying on Green Deal Providers to sell it to householders.

Mr Scott said, ‘TRADA would therefore recommend that suppliers and manufacturers be cautious in terms of investing. Firstly we need to see the outcome of the consultation and secondly we need to see how consumers react to the offer.'

TRADA's Construction Briefing The Green Deal is available online, free of charge, to members only click here. Non-members may obtain a copy from Kathryn Macneil  on  01494 560603 or email .

The full Green Deal Consultation can be downloaded from

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/green_deal/green_deal.aspx

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