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Red light for Green Deal

Insulation manufacturer Knauf Insulation has cautiously welcomed the secondary legislation to bring the Green Deal energy efficiency market into operation.

Red light for Green Deal

Steven Heath, Knauf Insulation’s external affairs director for Northern Europe, says that while the company has been supportive of the Green Deal and ECO concepts from the beginning, the evolving detail in the scheme framework has led it to become increasingly concerned over the intended operation of the scheme.

“The final design suggests a huge missed opportunity. In principal, Green Deal has the ability to deliver the type of retrofit so desperately needed if the UK is to improve its ageing building stock, deliver the most cost effective CO2 emission cuts, along with providing a genuine job creation programme.

“However the Government’s self-declared ‘flagship’ policy, looks set to become a niche programme as the numbers provided this week fall significantly short of the cited ambitions for the 14 million homes needing to be retrofitted and the creation of 65,000 jobs.

Heath says that, worryingly, estimates for the work likely to be carried out under the scheme still fall short of current activity and the rate of loft insulation remains vastly lower than the 2.1 million per year which the Committee on Climate Change says is required for the UK to meet its targets.

“The Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics show that 10 million (43%) of all lofts remain inadequately insulated and eight million houses with cavity walls 42% have yet to be insulated. In spite of this, the Impact Assessment outlines that just 364,000 loft installations are envisaged up to 2015 – greatly contrasting with previous years’ figures*, with the full total prediction of just 1.7 million by 2022.

“Alarmingly, the Government is back tracking on its promised expansion of solid wall installations, now showing no increase in current run rates – which actually equates to a 61 percent drop from the numbers proposed in the original consultation. The solid wall insulation figure appears to have gone from dangerously ambitious in the Green Deal consultation to actually offering a flat line in the level of installs against current activity.

“The stark outlook for all three leading insulation measures under the new scheme is all the more surprising given the fact that upgrading the thermal efficiency of properties through loft or cavity wall insulation is one of the easiest and cheapest means of reducing energy use and carbon emissions.

The industry’s response to the consultation very clearly stated that if the high level ambitions of the programme were to be realised, then a smooth transition from the loft and cavity market to a safely growing solid wall insulation market was crucial.”

Knauf Insulation would like to see the introduction of a new 12 month phase of the current CERT (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target) and CESP (Community Energy Saving Programme) plans, whilst the Green Deal policy design is reconciled with stated ambitions.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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