THE ASSOCIATION for Decentralised Energy has joined voices with MPs and campaigners who are concerned about the upcoming Green Homes Grant scheme, calling for quality control and consumer protection.
In total, £3bn was directed towards energy efficiency, with £1bn for public sector buildings, and £2bn through a Green Homes Grant.
James Griffiths, Policy lead for energy efficiency at the ADE, commented: “With some of the worst-performing buildings in Europe and dire forecasts for unemployment, the golden opportunity to deliver both warmer homes and brighter futures was seized.
“This is clearly great news for the often overlooked but critical area of energy efficiency.
“A lot has changed since the ‘Each home counts review’ of 2015/16-primarily with the establishment of Trustmark.
“Industry is ready to retrofit homes up and down the country and we must now prove the Chancellor right by using the Green Homes Grant to demonstrate energy efficiency’s full potential.”
A focus on consumer redress and standards in the retrofit scheme-is also welcomed by the Energy Ombudsman, who are the independent body responsible for resolving disputes between consumers and energy suppliers including on some aspects of energy efficiency.
Matthew Vickers, Chief Executive at the Energy Ombudsman, commented: “The Green Homes Grant is a promising scheme that has the potential to play a key role in building back better, improving energy efficiency and achieving net zero by 2050.
“To ensure the government gets a good return on its investment and people get the warm homes they deserve, it’s vital that consumers have trust and confidence in the scheme.
“One way of embedding this confidence would be to ensure that anyone using the scheme is protected and has a guaranteed right to free, independent redress if things go wrong.”
According to the ADE, there are two critical success factors’ to a successful implementation of the Green Homes Grant scheme:
- Quality is key: The Green Homes Grant must be underpinned by a robust quality assurance regime. This will protect consumers’ and public investment; help provide skilled and future-proofed jobs; and ensure that the benefits of comfier and cheaper-to-run homes are realised. Using recognised standards such as TrustMark and existing Publicly Available Specifications are clear opportunities. Taking this approach would also ensure a level of consistency with ECO and enable the supply chain to operate in both markets.
- Keep it simple and collaborate: Simplicity will be key for both the public and the supply chain to understand what this scheme really means for them. Clear guidance will lead to measures being installed and jobs created. There will of course be areas which must not be compromised, such as quality assurance and consumer protection. However, just as industry came together to successfully call for this funding, it must again collaborate to ensure its success.
Dr Joanne Wade, Deputy Director at the ADE, added: “In quickly delivering thousands of jobs through installing high quality measures that save carbon, reduce bills and increase comfort across the country, the Green Homes Grant is a golden opportunity.
“Sustained funding is essential. The ADE was pleased to see the Energy and Clean Growth Minister, The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, mention in BEIS questions earlier this month his support for the £9.2bn investment committed in the Conservative manifesto.
“The clearest opportunity to secure future support and build a sustained market for energy efficiency is by demonstrating its potential in the coming months. This is our time to shine.”