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Confusion reigns on Green Deal opportunities

Opinions are mixed among Marbella conference speakers as to whether the Green Deal is an opportunity for merchants or not.
Chris Ashworth of CIMCIG and Chris Hopkins of Ploughcroft strongly believed that the Green Deal would be an opportunity for the market, Chris Hayward and Dave Jordan were not entirely convinced.

However, all agreed that at the moment, it’s all we have: “The Green Deal is the only show in town,” says Hayward. “There isn’t anything else. The government has no plan B.”

Ashworth, who produced a paper about consumer views on sustainability for CIMCIG, is very positive about the Green Deal, which is more than I can say for many merchants I’ve spoken to. Perhaps as understanding increases, so will optimism. All of the schemes, including RHI, feed-in tariffs and the changes to Doc L, are helping to create a market for sustainability, he says. If it is sold in the right way, merchants are well placed to take advantage of the market.

“Let’s not sell it on the features. Let’s sell it on the benefits…People will be receptive to different types of messages, so those messages need to be tailored.”

Chris Hopkins, an installer, set up a college specifically tailored to teaching tradesmen how to install sustainable solutions. People thought he was mad, he says, but he did it anyway.

“It opened all sort of doors. Suddenly I’ve got people, other installers, who want to become Ploughcroft accredited installers, and suddenly I’ve got this network of tradesmen doing my work that I’m not employing. When I’ve got work going on in say, Cornwall, I pass that work onto them.”

Jordan, who is group sustainability manager for Ridgeons, doesn’t believe that the public will buy into the Green Deal, but he believes that there will be an uptake in sustainable retrofit work.

“There is a massive skill shortage out there,” he says. “We’re trying to put that right.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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