That’s why the Coalition Government has come up with an ambitious new plan to green and make more energy efficient all the existing homes and flats.
That’s why I have come to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, to talk to climate change minister Greg Barker and hear first hand about the new ‘Green Deal’.
Q1: So in 2012, you’re going to launch the ‘Green Deal’, can you tell me what it is and how it’s going to affect people’s homes?
Greg Barker: Yes. This is a radical, ambitious programme that could potentially involve changes to all 26million homes in the UK.
It’s going to give the opportunity for everybody to increase the energy efficiency of their property, whether they are in rented or privately owned accommodation, by paying for improvements to these homes through the savings that they make on their energy bill and that will be repaid on the energy bill over 25 years.
Voice over: Under the Green Deal plan, homes will receive up to six and a half thousands pounds worth of energy efficiency fittings, such as better insulation. This money will come from the private sector and be repaid over 25 years. But the loan won’t be tied to people and won’t affect anyone’s credit rating – it will be tied to the house.
The government believes it won’t cost households anything extra, because lower energy bills will offset the cost of the repayments.
GB: But, what’s crucial is that not only is the fact that it’s not a loan, what is really important to realise we have a golden rule for the ‘Green Deal’ that not only should every single installation improve the property but it should also ideally result in lower bills for each person that takes it up as well.
So, better homes and lower bills.
Q3: Given the cutbacks the whole country is facing, is this definitely a priority for the coalition Government?
GB: This is a real priority, because it is not dependent on government spending, that’s the beauty of it.
Q4: How environmentally important is it that we cut emissions from UK homes specifically?
GB: It’s really important, because overall about 40% of our emissions come from choices we as consumers make and within that mix homes are a really big piece. So, unless we improve the efficiency of our homes we are never going to meet our climate change objectives.