Green Deal

The green deal is part of the government’s energy policy to reduce the carbon emissions from the UK housing stock. In its simplest form the green deal is a way of financing energy improvements in the home paid for by the predicted savings on fuel bills. This is to encourage all householders to improve the fabric of their dwelling to reduce energy costs and to allow the government to achieve their CO2 reduction targets etc. 

To encourage the uptake of the green deal the scheme is also proposed for inclusion in the revision to Part L of the building regulations where certain home improvements may be compulsory if they are not already installed when undertaking changes to items that will reduce energy usage. E.g. if you intend replacing your old boiler you may also need to improve heated water storage tank insulation and loft insulation to a minimum standard. These extras may be improvements that you had not budgeted for but qualify for green deal finance.

If you wish to take advantage of the green deal or are intending building an extension or changing proscribed improvements you will need a survey that reviews the energy use of the building. The survey result may suggest improvements that are supported by the green deal. When you know the cost of the improvements the energy savings and repayment costs are calculated to ensure that the improvements are self financing. Improvements that are self financing are said to meet the Golden Rule. The work can be carried out and financed by a third party. The improvements are paid for by an additional charge on your electricity bill that goes to the organisation that financed the work. If you heat your home with say gas or oil the predicted reduced bills should offset the extra payment for electricity. Once all the cost of the work is recovered the debt is paid off. 

Two important features of the green deal are that the debt stays with the house so if you move before the green deal is paid off the new occupier carries on paying the electricity company and enjoying the energy savings. And within the green deal are systems to ensure that only trained and approved contractors do the work. The aim is to keep the standard of workmanship and materials high.

It is expected that the major electricity companies operate the green deal collection system so you will not be tied to an electricity tariff or supplier. If you wish to change then there should be no obstacles.

What does this mean for windows? The glass used externally has a major influence on the energy performance of your home. The savings that you make from changing your glass (using existing frames) or replacing the windows will depend on what is installed now. If you have single glazing or rudimentary insulating glass units i.e. with no Low-e energy saving coatings then the potential for saving energy is quite high. If you already have glass with Low-e coatings then the savings will not be so great and you are unlikely to satisfy the Golden Rule. If your current window frames are serviceable then just changing the glass is a very economical solution. Changing your windows is a fairly straight forward procedure and not inconvenience the running of your household whereas installing improvements like solid wall insulation may be quite disruptive. Replacement windows can improve the look of your building, reduce draughts and internal condensation and in many cases improve the acoustic performance of the façade. Certain styles of window are more expensive that others and we cannot guarantee that replacing those windows in a home will meet the Golden Rule.

For information on Pilkington energy saving products follow the links to Pilkington energiKare™.