Despite numerous articles panning the Green Deal and various other renewable energy initiatives, it seems they've had little effect on the general public's support for environmentally-friendly alternatives.
New research by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which surveyed over 2000 UK households back in July, has found that their strategies for implementing more renewable energy sources across the country still receive high support from the public - with 76% of respondants backing their plans.
However despite this seemingly high number there has been somewhat of a decline in interest. 18 months ago this figure stood at a slightly higher 79%, but earlier in the year it stood at a much more impressive 82%. However on the upside the number of those that oppose renewable installations hasn't changed - standing at the same 5% it did 18 months ago.
As well as recording support for large-scale energy generating methods such as wind farms and biomass, the research also found that Brits are actually quite in the know when it comes to saving money on their own personal bills with 76% having considered different ways to bring bills down. Unfortuntately, it also seems that this knowledge perhaps isn't in the right places just yet, with nearly half of respondants (47%) having never heard of smart meters. This is only 6% less than it was 18 months ago.
Smart meters are an important part of government strategy. They work by connecting homes directly to energy firms through electricity meters. This means their bills are always calculated via exact readings as opposed to estimated usage levels, which can lead to lower costs in the long run.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today released the latest Green Deal statistics, and already there has been warnings coming from various different groups and companies.
Insulation company Knauf has warned that according to the current rate, it will take more than 200 years to reach the Government’s 2020 targets. This comes following the revelation that only 2031 more Green Deal assessments place in April than March, suggesting that interest may already be starting to stagnate.
Northern Europe Knauf Managing Director John Sinfield said: “These figures confirm the industry’s worst fears – that the Green Deal has been strangled at birth by the complete lack of any real incentive to encourage uptake amongst householders. If this rate of activity evens out at 10,000 assessments a month it will take 116 years to reach the original DECC aspiration of tackling 14 million homes – and that assumes an optimistic 100 per cent conversion rate from assessment to Green Deal. At a more realistic rate of 50 per cent it will take 232 years to achieve this goal!
“Therefore, our argument to Government is that a significant ‘demand driver’ is urgently needed in order to create momentum amongst householders. The Government claims that the Green Deal is a market driven mechanism yet as currently designed it will only appeal to a small subset of the population. The Green Deal must be made attractive to ALL householders if it is to stand any chance of success. Cashback should be broadened from just Green Deal to all boiler and insulation retrofits.”
However the slow-down in progress could be due to a “severe shortage” of building companies registered as installers, says The Federation of Master Builders in an unrelated assessment based on the same set of statistics. With only 942 companies approved to carry out the work, the FMB has warned that this is nowhere near enough to deliver targets.
Chief executive Brian Berry said: “There are more than 240,000 companies in the construction industry that employ fewer than 14 people. These companies are often best placed to carry out Green Deal work, but because it is difficult to access the market, they are reluctant to train the number of approved installers needed to retrofit Britain’s building stock.
“The Green Deal has now been open for business for almost four months and demand for work under the initiative appears to be growing, but it still feels like a missed opportunity to the majority of SMEs in the industry who haven’t seen any sign of transformation in the energy-efficiency market.”
In order to combat this, the FMB plan to introduce a “Strategy for the Low Carbon Building and Refurbishment Market”. This will involve giving its members better access to the training and certification required to carry out these areas of work.