The Green Deal

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is now closed and Green Deal financing is no longer available but grants are still available through the ECO. The Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation fund is open until the end of June 2016.

What is the Green Deal?

The Green Deal is a national government scheme to help you make energy saving improvements to your house such as installing insulation or a more efficient heating system or renewable energy systems. There are several parts to the Green Deal.

  • Advice from Green Deal Assessors
  • Delivery from Green Deal Installers
  • Green Deal finance loans, and grants from the Energy Companies Obligation and the Green Deal Home Improvement fund. Also in Cambridgeshire there are grants available through the Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund. These grants schemes are confusingly similar so you will find a table comparing them below.

A Green Deal Assessment gives you two documents:

  • an energy performance certificate for your house (EPC) including a list of recommended improvement measures
  • an occupancy assessment estimates how much you could save taking into account the number of people in your home, your heating programme (thermostat settings and timers), how often you take baths and showers, how often you use the tumble dryer and so on.

Green deal providers and installers are accredited professionals who will further advise you and can deliver the recommended Green Deal measures. Green Deal installations should come with excellent insurance backed guarantees - though we advise you to check with your installer to be sure. For example cavity wall or solid wall insulation should be guaranteed for 25 years against failure or consequential damage - so if problems arise such as condensation in your brickwork this will be covered by the guarantee.

The Green Deal Loan scheme can help you finance the Green Deal measures without any upfront cost. You pay for the work through a loan which is charged to your electricity supply. The term of the loan is up to 25 years depending on the work you have done. If you sell your house the new owner will pick up the payments.

What work can I have done?

Before you can have anything done you must have advice from an accredited energy advisor. They will give you a (new, improved) energy performance certificate which makes recommendations as to what you could do and what the savings would be. A Green Deal Assessment also includes an occupancy assessment which takes into account your individual circumstances such as how much time you spend at home and if there are any areas you don't need to heat. The possible works include

  • Renewable energy such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and PV panels.
  • Insulation: cavity walls, lofts, pipework, external or internal wall insulation
  • Heating controls such as thermostats, zone controls, hot water controls
  • Draught proofing such as duct sealing
  • Condensing boilers
  • New radiators
  • Lighting systems for low energy lighting (not for homes, only for commercial properties)
  • Efficient showers

How do I qualify for grants?

Grants are available through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) and, currently, the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. Also, locally we have the Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund, funded through the Green Deal Communities Fund. Some of these grants are for everyone and some only for people on benefits.

The ECO has been scaled back since it was first introduced see The Future of the Energy Companies Obligation. However, it is still going, and there were nearly 40,000 measures installed through the ECO in May 2014, of which three quarters were for people on benefits or living in certain areas.

Normally your grants will be arranged through a Green Deal Provider and they will be able to determine if you qualify or not.

If you are on benefits

One part of the ECO, the Affordable Warmth Obligation is for people on benefits. (This grant is also called the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation HHCRO). Most of these grants seem to be given for new boilers or heating controls, cavity wall insulation or loft insulation.

Another part of the ECO, called the Carbon Saving Community Obligation, is for people living in designated low income areas but there aren't any in Cambridge.

These grant should be available through any Green Deal Provider.

You can also get help with solid wall insulation through the grants described below.

If you are not on benefits.

Whether or not you are on benefits you can still qualify for some grants. The situation is very complex and the information below is a bit of a simplification.

  • Solid wall insulation
    • Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - up to 4000
    • Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund - up to 6000*
    • Private Rented Sector Green Deal Communities (for landlords) - up to 6000
    • ECO Carbon Savings Target
  • Cavity walls, normal
    • Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - 1000 with one other measure
    • Private Rented Sector Green Deal Communities (for landlords) up to 2000 with one other measure
  • Cavity walls, hard to treat (e.g. narrow or more than 2 stories tall)
    • ECO Carbon Savings Target
    • Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund - up to 6000 if cavity wall insulation is not possible
    • Private Rented Sector Green Deal Communities (for landlords)
  • Other cases
    • Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, up to 1000 for a combination of two measures (more details below)
    • Private Rented Sector Green Deal Communities (for landlords) - if you have cavity walls that are already insulated grants may be available for other measures.

ECO Carbon Saving Target

(Also called the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation CERO).

This grant is for solid wall insulation or for insulating cavity walls that are 'hard to treat'. However it is proving difficult to get funding for solid wall insulation. As of May 2014 were 250,000 hard to treat cavities insulated and only 50,000 solid walls done.

This grant should be available through any Green Deal Provider.

The ECO has been going since the Green Deal began but because of the impact on our electricity bills it has been unpopular. Therefore, DECC have reduced the targets for the this part (saving 30/35 on average in 2014). Also, lofts and ordinary cavity walls will be included which are cheaper carbon savings, which means it will be even harder to get grants for solid wall insulation. This change will come into force in the 3rd quarter of 2014.

Private Rented Sector Green Deal Communities (for landlords)

Cambridgeshire has funding from DECC specifically for private sector rented housing so if you are a landlord you could use this. You can get up to 1000 for a single measure or 2000 for cavity wall insulation or loft insulation plus one other measure recommended on a Green Deal assessment (maximum 75% of the total cost). You can also get an additional 500 if you upgrade the property from F or G to at least D rating. Also the tenant will receive 500 for solid wall insulation or 100 for other measures, as compensation for the disruption.

This grant is available through Action on Energy and other registered providers listed for the Cambridgeshire Green Deal Communities Fund

Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund and Green Deal Home Improvement Fund

DECC announced that the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has been closed as of July 24th 2014

If you have solid walls then you main options are the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund and the Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund. Both funds apply to both owner occupiers and landlords. The table below compares them. Interestingly they can be combined - so you can have solid wall insulation funded by Cambridgeshire and Green Deal Home Improvement Funding for other measures.

Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (national) Cambridgeshire Solid Wall Insulation Fund
Solid wall insulation (up to 75% or 4000) and/or 1000 for any two out of the following 12 measures:
  • a condensing gas boiler on mains gas,
  • double or triple glazing as a replacement for single glazing,
  • secondary glazing,
  • replacement doors,
  • cavity wall insulation,
  • floor insulation,
  • flat-roof insulation,
  • insulation for a room in the roof,
  • a replacement warm air unit,
  • replacement storage heaters,
  • a waste water heat recovery system

The fund was up to 6000 initially but changes were announced effective 25th July reducing this to 4000 and also removing flue gas heat recovery from the list of measures.

Solid wall insulation only, up to 6000. However you will be expected to pay an 'affordable contribution' which is based on what you could get from a Green Deal loan - where the payments are no more than your expected savings.
Cannot be combined with other Green Deal grants schemes, though it can be used with a Green Deal loan Can be combined with Green Deal ECO funding (see below) or other grant schemes. Your Green Deal Provider will arrange this for you.
Need a Green Deal Assessment or an EPC - but up to 100 will be refunded if you get a full assessment Must have a Green Deal Assessment, but this costs only 29 from Action on Energy (for properties with solid walls) and will be fully refunded if any measures are installed
Works can be done by any Green Deal Installer Works can only be done through a provider registered with Cambridge City Council - see their web page for a list
The grant is paid direct to you after you have a certificate showing completion of the work and an invoice. However, some installers require payment in advance, so you would have to find the money first and then get it paid back. The grant is paid direct to the installer and you will only be invoiced for the balance.
This grant is available until June 2015. The initial rates were guaranteed only for the first 50 million in payout and they have now been revised downwards. Funding is limited to 5.7 million in Cambridgeshire, on a first come first served basis
For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/overview For more information go to https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/green-deal-communities

What about a Green Deal Finance loan?

Anyone can get a Green Deal Finance loan but your project must satisfy the golden rule which is that your repayments will be less than the expected savings on your bills. Overall your energy bills should be lower than they would have been without the Green Deal, assuming your other circumstances stay the same. However, your bills will still increase when energy prices rise for the energy you are still using. If the cost of the work is too high to satisfy the golden rule then you could be eligible for a grant to make up the difference.

A Green Deal Finance loan is different from an ordinary loan because it is tied to your house rather than you and it is paid through your electricity bill. It has a fixed charge rather than a variable interest rate. You will find information about the interest rates here. Green Deal Finance Loans are arranged with the Green Deal Finance Company through your Green Deal Provider.

This loan is expensive compared to a mortgage because it is an unsecured personal loan. You may be able to get cheaper finance from your bank or mortgage company. You can still use the Green Deal without taking up the loan. You can also combine a Green Deal Finance loan with grant funding from the ECO or other grant schemes.

What do I have to do?

The first thing is to get your Green Deal Assessment (or at least an EPC, if you intend to use the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund). In Cambridgeshire, the Action on Energy project is a partnership between local councils offering comprehensive advice and access to the Green Deal and ECO funding. They selected Climate Energy to be their Green Deal provider. They have promised to work with local installers where possible to benefit the local economy.

Other local companies offering Green Deal Assessment or provider services include The 80percent Hub, Green Heat and Aran Services

Where can I find out more?

The horse's mouth is the DECC website.They have some quick guides for different situations: owners, tenants, landlords and so on. There is information about the Green Deal Improvement fund here. There is also very good information on www.moneysavingexpert.com.