What are your expectations of the Green Deal?
Mike Smith MCIO, chairman, CBC
I just don’t think the Green Deal has been thought through enough. At the SME end of the industry, despite institute involvement, there hasn’t been enough consultation, and I don’t think there’s going to be enough take-up. If the government wanted the whole Green Deal initiative to be a “bottom-up” approach, with the industry leading, I don’t think it has succeeded. The government should have been more proactive about coming to the marketplace. Even if you spend two minutes on Google, there’s loads of confusing information on the Green Deal — plenty of discussion and press coverage, but not enough consultation.
Richard Griffiths, policy and campaigns consultant, UKGBC
With so many homes in the UK in dire need of improvements to their energy efficiency, it’s hugely exciting that the UKGBC’s “Pay as You Save” vision is now so close to reality in the form of the Green Deal. Of course, it’s a pity it won’t start in earnest until early 2013, and we can only hope that the government is doing all it can to make sure that the momentum built up through energy-efficiency subsidy programmes such as CERT and CESP is not lost in the transition to the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). We’d still like to see proposals from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on how it plans to drive long-term demand in the sector, not least because a thriving retrofit sector, at the same time as helping us to meet our legally binding carbon targets, will create vital economic growth and jobs and help households faced with ever-rising energy bills.
Bernard Keogh MCIOB, Arque Construction, Exeter
We are signed up as an accredited Green Deal installer so that we can take on work if it comes our way, but I suspect a lot of the work will go to specialist services or plumbing contractors, not general contractors such as ourselves. That sort of activity isn’t part of our existing mainstream business and I don’t want to change the profile of the business just to take advantage of the Green Deal. In our part of the country, things are finally happening, and I’m confident we can get our share anyway.
Chris Kane MCIOB, managing director, Greendale Construction
We’re an SME with turnover going up to about £10m, and most of the information we get is through the trade press. As a company we are trying to get on board with the Green Deal and are now looking at our supply chain to employ only subcontractors who plan to become Green Deal registered installers. That said, we haven’t felt supported by the government particularly. We’re not clear about how we’d be paid if we got involved with Green Deal works; but certainly in terms of cash flow we would hope to see staged payments in contracts.
Brett Amphlett, policy manager, Builders Merchants Federation
The federation sees the Green Deal as an effective way to generate the improvements to meet the government’s carbon reduction targets – the trick is to explain it properly to voters. As things stand, it’s likely that the requirements for providers will be met more easily by the larger industry players rather than smaller conglomerations of SMEs, but this really is uncharted territory. I think the soft roll-out is a good idea. You can’t yet be registered for Green Deal funding, and you won’t be able to write a Green Deal plan until January 2013, but a phased awareness approach is a good thing. Trade federations need to educate their memberships, as we are doing; but SMEs should also be educating themselves. On the DECC website there is plenty of information on marketing, how to promote yourself, and explanations of Energy Performance Certificates if you look for it.
Tim Lewis MCIOB, IB Construction
My knowledge of the Green Deal is not brilliant, and as an industry I don’t think we’re very genned up on it. I consider myself fairly up on sustainability, but I would have to do some research to find out how to apply to be an accredited installer.