I had a visit from a 'Green Energy' assessor this afternoon. Lovely chap, in fact one of the most pleasant salesmen I've ever met. He assures me if I install solar power panels to heat my water, a biomass stove to heat my favourite room and an air heat pump system (to replace my 18-month-old condensing boiler), I will receive thousands of pounds back from the government. Yes, that's right, the government will pay me for my hot water and heating. They will refund me specific amounts per kilowatt for the various systems I install.
Also I was informed that grants towards such installations will finish in April so it's best I apply for them now and they can be deferred. (Grants can be had through the Energy Savings Trust I'm informed).
I'm writing this before I've done much research but I did struggle to understand why, if I installed solar panels to heat my water, the government would pay me for being a good girl. Doesn't make sense to me but the salesman explained the government need to meet their Kyoto targets and this is the carrot before the big stick of vastly increased utility bills drop through our letter boxes.
There's a bit of a catch I think though because it seems you have to use a 'recognised' installer to receive the approximate 30% grant (maximum claim £4,000). Having been caught before by one of these government grants, I'm reluctant to try it again. A couple of years ago I thought my loft insulation required upgrading. The surveyor duly arrived but wouldn't give me a quote on the cost and waffled on reading from a typed sheet he had on his clipboard. When I asked if I could copy it his face registered a horror which wasn't that far removed from what I would have expected if I'd asked him to have sex with me right there and then on the lobby floor.
Now I'm off to check out his recommendations and I await his estimate emails with interest. By my reckoning if I invest around £50,000 now then I should recover the cost by 2040!
Just to keep the record straight there's no way I could consider that amount of investment. Even if I had the money it's an expensive business reducing your carbon footprint and certainly I have yet to be convinced about the talk that I will destroy the planet within a couple of generations). Perhaps if I was 30 years younger I'd look at it from a different angle. By the time I die will a non-solar, non-air pump, non-biomass stove home be worth just a pittance? For the sake of my inheritors I hope not.
Though I admit, if I believed all I was told this morning, then green is the colour of money to us consumers. Why don't I believe it?