Basics of the Green Deal Scheme

The Green Deal is a UK energy efficiency program aimed at modernizing the millions of homes across the country which are completely lacking when it comes to being efficient in energy related matters. This flagship programme, which was launched in October 2012, is open to every UK resident who wishes to take the necessary steps to help cut draught and heat loss via several different steps. A significant feature of the Green Deal is its aim of reducing energy consumption in a typical household, which should go a long way to reducing energy bills, especially with the ever-increasing prices reported in the market.

It is estimated that the properties in the UK are among the most wasteful in relation to heat loss in the Western world. A high-volume of waste is noticed in relation to numerous practices seen in office buildings. Also, for the domestic resident who might have the thermostat up high in a draughty property, which might keep the resident in some degree of comfort, but will be quite expensive in relation to energy costs. This is also likely to be very unsustainable for the environment in general.

A key feature behind the creation of the Green Deal is to help with reducing leaking carbon, which comes mostly from the high number of properties leaking heat. It has been well-established that the right installation in wall cavities and loft spaces goes a long way to reducing the amount of carbon emission leaked from a typical residence. Installation features as part of the Green Deal package and is one of the more notable energy-efficient improvements available. If the right steps are implemented it is believed that many families will be able to lift themselves out of fuel poverty. Consumers are starting to be encouraged to implement a comprehensive range of measures which should help homes be much more fuel-efficient in future years.

In order to benefit from the energy-efficient measurements offered in the Green Deal, it will be necessary for an accredited adviser to visit a property to establish its existing energy efficiency and then to decide what improvements might be made. Green Day advisers are only concerned with the suitability of the particular property; no other criteria will come into play, including the available funds a homeowner might have. An adviser will also offer practical advice on what action might be taken to help with reducing a properties carbon footprint even further.

Green Energy Options

Not all of us have the luxury of living in parts of the UK where gas is easily available. While it is true that gas is currently the most efficient and cheapest form of energy for heating the home, many of us rely on electricity and perhaps supplement this with oil. For these people choosing the right energy supplier is crucial, both in terms of getting the best deal financially, but also for making sure that carbon emissions are kept to a minimum.

Electrical heaters such as radiators are a great alternative or additional source of heating for most homes and if you happen to be on a green tariff with your energy supplier you will also be helping with reducing carbon emissions. It is a win win situation. So what green energy tariffs are available and how do you ensure that yours is truly green and worth the extra effort?

How does it work?

Green energy suppliers purchase energy which is carbon free or carbon neutral and sell it on to their customers using a green tariff. Examples of this energy may be wind turbines, solar power, hydroelectric, biomass or nuclear. In the UK these sources of electricity account for around 7% of all available energy, but this figure is steadily rising. The government is also behind this move towards renewable forms of energy and has set a target of 30% of the UK’s electricity needs coming from renewable sources by 2020.

Energy companies need to adhere to the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme which is designed to ensure that customers are not being mis-sold when it comes to greener energy options. This means that the tariffs are independently checked and that they meet green energy supply guidelines as laid out by Ofgem. They must also show that they have purchased enough renewable energy to supply all of their green tariff customers.

Energy suppliers can meet the Ofgem guidelines by also either off-setting their own carbon production, providing energy saving measures for their customers such as insulation or investing into a green fund used on community buildings.

The down side

This all sounds great, but it is worth noting that while the energy supplier may be selling renewable energy to you, they could be reducing the amount which is available to other customers at the same time. The overall mix of energy does not change.

The energy companies are expected to produce a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources, however some will agree to do more than this and sell it at a special “renewable” rate to their green customers. In the UK there are no suppliers who provide 100% green electricity. There is no guarantee that your electricity will come from a renewable source, but simply that your supplier is buying in the required percentage to cover your needs.

Still worthwhile?

It is true that going for a green tariff doesn’t mean you will only buy renewable energy – but it certainly shows willing. If more UK energy users decided to sign up to green tariffs, the renewable industry would be in a position to offer more of this technology. If you decide to use electricity as your primary source of heating for your home, opting for a green tariff is just one of the steps you can take to keep your carbon footprint as low as possible.

Earn Thousands From Government Energy Schemes

Heating your home can be expensive, but there are schemes, initiatives and other things you can do that can save you thousands of pounds and improve your energy efficiency.

Warm Front is one such scheme which can literally save you thousands of pounds. It is a government funded initiative which is managed by Eaga. The scheme is designed to support people who may be vulnerable to fuel poverty this includes low income families and the disabled and elderly. It provides a package of insulation and heating improvements which can amount to the value of 6,000 where oil or renewable technologies are recommended. To qualify you must own your own home or rent from a private landlord. You should also receive certain specified benefits as well.

However, even if you do not qualify for a Warm Front grant you can still apply for the Heating Rebate Scheme and receive up to 300. To qualify you must live in an English local authority be over 60 and own your own home. The work carried out must also exceed 300 including VAT.

The Clean Energy Cash Back or Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Scheme was introduced on 1st April 2010 and promises to pay long-term, guaranteed payments to homes and businesses for generating electricity from small-scale renewable electricity systems, such as solar panels and wind turbines. The scheme is intended to give people an incentive to utilise green energy and cut their fuel bills. The money paid to homeowners is also tax free.

For homeowners with a well positioned 2.5kW solar panel this could amount to 900 cash back from the excess electricity they generate but do not use as well as further savings on electricity bills. Similar schemes to FIT have worked well in countries such as Germany for the last 10 years.

The Renewable Heat Incentive is a fixed payment for the renewable heat which is generated by a household and is set to be launched in April 2011. Although it is similar to the Feed-in Tariff initiative there are some significant differences due to the fact that most homes generate heat via oil or gas boilers, unlike electricity there is no National Grid for Heat.

To benefit from The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) you have to install a renewable heating system such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps or a biomass boiler. Once this has been done an estimate is given based on how much heat your system will produce. Based on this estimate a fixed amount is paid. The RHI will be available to everyone including businesses and is designed to incentivise investment into renewable energy.

Everyone can potentially earn money from being more environmentally conscious and investing in renewable energy. Even if you are unsure about how to go about installing a renewable energy system for your electricity and heating needs you can employ the services of an energy consultant for as little as 50. They will usually provide advice and a report on what to install and how you can maximise the effectiveness of a renewable energy system.