Tuesday, 10 April 2012
All In The Name Of Reducing Carbon Footprints
Yesterday I had a telephone call from a 'green' company asking me if I was aged between 55 and 75. Without waiting for a response, the chirpy chap at the end of the telephone line immediately fell into his sales speech about solar energy and the benefits. I let him ramble, for around 30 seconds, before I advised him my age was none of his business and he'd probably be out of a job shortly since solar panel companies are folding weekly. "We're the biggest company in the UK and have been for over 10 years," he boasted. My response was: "Phone me in ten year's time and we can discuss it then."
Later I read about this. Currently the rules do not affect Scotland, as the Scottish government has its own green energy policy, but that's not to say it won't be copied by the present, or future, Scottish governments.
These regulations should concern anyone who owns their home. Those who want to build an extension, replace a broken boiler or install new windows will have to notify their council which can require them to do other works - such as loft and wall insulation - as a condition of receiving approval. The cost of insulation methods on older properties can run into thousands of pounds and if owners can't afford to meet their council's requirements, they will be required to get into debt by borrowing through the Green Deal scheme. This is due to come into force in October but trials have shown the payback rate, which will be estimated on how much an average occupier would save, were less than predicted in many cases.
I see the Green Deal scheme being a modern form of hire purchase, although with hire purchase the account was in the name of the purchaser. With Green Deal the account is on the property and should the occupier move house, the account stays with the property and becomes the responsibility of the new owner. How many property buyers will be interested in buying a home with an outstanding loan? Hire purchase was provided by a variety of credit companies and repayments were made directly to the companies. With Green Deal repayments are to be added to regular utility bills and therefore will be collected by energy companies.
Repeatedly in the proposals, the word 'accredited' is used. This will curtail the consumer's choice if they are required to use a Green Deal accredited adviser and installer if they need or wish to improve their property's energy efficiency.
Richard Lloyd, 'Which?' director, said: "We think it's unacceptable effectively to require people to take on Green Deal finance to comply with Government regulation."
In case you've forgotten - all this is being done in the name of reducing a home's carbon footprint.