DIY Green Energy – The Underlying Philosophy

 When we look at green energy technology it’s clear that two or more philosophies are at work here. There are major, often publicly-funded projects, such as offshore wind farms that use collections of turbines over 300 feet high and designed to provide enough green energy to run several small towns. Or there are hydro-electric and wave-power schemes that may cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take decades to come to fruition.

The philosophy here is often related to political expediency as governments use their ostensibly green credentials to win votes and remain in power. This might be somewhat cynical but often we find that such large schemes are badly thought through and often have running and maintenance costs far in excess of original expectations.

The small scale approach

Then there is the small scale approach in which green energy generation is designed for either small groups of houses, or perhaps a small industrial unit or even individual homes. The market for green energy generating equipment is now growing at a very high rate despite the poor economies in much of the developed world. However, purpose-built green energy equipment, such as solar panel heating arrays, solar pv arrays and wind turbines are still expensive for the average householder.

So for anyone wanting to cut their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint but is not in a position to invest the large sums that commercially produced equipment demand, the Do It Yourself route is the only one available to us.

The DIY Green Energy approach

Now some people consider the DIY movement, if we can call it a movement, to be a penny-pinching way of doing things that has meant the death-knell of the professional tradesman. Others would see it as a nursery ground for ingenuity and recycling.

Doing things for yourself can be a very rewarding experience. To be able to understand a problem, think it through, and then experimentally and incrementally arrive at a practical solution is not only very satisfying but it is very instructive too. 

DIY Green Energy Guides

If you want to venture into the world of DIY green energy generation then there is plenty of help out there. The guides that now proliferate on the internet provide a wealth of information, not only on how and where to source the parts you’ll need at the lowest possible prices but also on construction methods and, crucially, the theory too.

You will find as you embark on your solar panel or wind turbine projects that understanding the theory of how and why the systems work is very helpful if you want to deviate from the explicit instructions in the guides. 

The philosophy of DIY matches up with that of green energy generation perfectly. They both represent an approach to self-sufficiency that seems to have been declining ever since the second world war. However, it may be that a resurgence of the indomitable spirit of the do it yourselfer is in the offing. Large-scale schemes may be the province of governments but for individuals the do it yourself approach to green energy generation is the perfect solution to cutting your costs and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. 

Green Deal Scheme – Overview of the Initiative

What is the process?

Under the Deal there must be an Accredited Assessment which is likely to take the form of an Energy Performance Certificate. This assessment will show what improvements could be made to the property. If the improvements qualify for Green Deal Finance under the Golden Rule then an approved Deal Installer will undertake the improvement works. There is no upfront cost to the client and the repayments for the installation will be made through charges on the property utility bills.

What is the Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule is in two parts. First, the actual cost of installing the measure must be equal to or less than the potential savings that could be made from installing the measure. Second, the term of the repayments must be shorter than the expected product life. If the improvement doesn’t meet the Golden Rule then it will not qualify for the Green D Finance.

What is Green Deal Finance?

The Green Finance provides access to energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost. If the improvement qualifies under the Golden Rule then the cost of the measure is paid back through savings made on the Utility Bill. These repayments will be form part of a charge levied over the property Utility Bills which will continue regardless of future owner or tenant, until the cost is repaid. The payments will be deducted by the Utility Provider and will be covered by the Consumer Credit Act. Before the Green Deal Finance can be agreed and the improvement installed express consent must be given by all interested parties, in particular the Utility Bill Payer.

What happens if the property is sold or let to a new tenant?

The charge on the Utility Bills through Deal Finance belongs to the property and the Utility Bill payer. Whoever is paying the bills will have to continue to pay the Green Deal Finance cost.

What improvements are likely to be available?

The improvements are likely to include insulation improvements, such as loft and cavity wall insulation; heating system changes, such as boiler upgrades; and renewable technologies, such as solar panels. Any improvements would have to be installed by a certified and approved Green Deal Provider who will be qualified installers for the product.

How Does Green Deal Finance Work?

Via the Green Deal scheme run by the UK government, you can make your home more energy-efficient without paying a lot of money. Unlike other systems, it does not offer grants, but finance in the form of a loan. Still, this does not mean that it is financially burdening in any way. Find out more about Green Deal finance so that you can use it with confidence.

Scheme Basics

The scheme is designed to help you make home improvements which will contribute to energy efficiency. The list of eligible improvements includes wall and loft insulation, double-glazed windows, draught-proofing, underfloor heating, heating controls, boiler replacement and even solar panels. Other types of improvements may qualify as well. In order to make these improvements, you will receive a loan which is repaid under special terms and conditions.

Finance Eligibility and Amount

Any person owning or renting a property in England, Wales and Scotland can apply for Green Deal finance and qualify. There is no income assessment. You can qualify irrespective of the income which you earn. The finance is available from registered providers and lending criteria apply. The lender will take into account your credit score and history when determining your eligibility and the interest rate to be charged. Still, the requirements are lower so around 8 of every 10 applicants qualify.

The loan amount is based on the amount of money which you are expected to save on your energy bills. This will enable you to finance the most energy-efficient improvements which can be made. In general, you are free to make a personal financial contribution of any size. Similarly, you may use grants available from other schemes to pay for the improvements.

Repayment Term and Structure

Each Green Deal finance package has payments which are lower than or equal to the savings on your energy bills which you will generate as a result of the planned home improvements. In this way, you will incur no additional costs whatsoever. You will keep on paying the same bill or a slightly lower one. Once the loan is paid off, you will start generating major savings from the energy-efficient improvements.

The repayment term is typically between 10 and 25 years. You can select it in line with your financial plans. A longer term will result in smaller payments while a shorter one will help you to save on interest.

Finally, you should know that the Green Deal finance payments are automatically deducted from your energy bill. The loan stays with the property and does not go with you if you move to another house.