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What is the Green Deal?

The government has staged the ‘soft launch’ of it flagship energy programme, the Green Deal, this week – a programme that has been heralded not only for the environmental impact it will have, but for the jobs it is likely to create among plumbers, solar panel fitters and all other tradesmen whose skills will be required.

But what exactly is the Green Deal and what should construction professionals be aware of in terms of what will be required of them?

The Green Deal is the new form of government financing that will allow property owners – both domestic and commercial – to make energy saving enhancements to their properties. The deal has seen the government establish a framework through which private companies can offer the energy improvements to the properties at no up-front cost. The payments from the work will be recouped instead through charges in instalments on the energy bill.

One of the key details of the deal is that the cost of the work will not be carried by the owner of the property, rather it will remain with the property itself. If the person who instigated the work moves out, then the financial obligation will transfer to the next bill payer, meaning that the charge is only paid whilst the benefits are enjoyed.

The deal comes with some strict stipulations, however, some of which naturally cover the installation of the energy-saving equipment. The new installations must be assessed and devised by accredited advisors, while the work can only be carried out accredited installers and fitters, ensuring that the correct benefits are drawn from the systems.

All accredited fitters and advisors will bear an official Green Deal quality mark, designed to offer similar assurances as Gas Safe and Trustmark. The government and Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are working on a system of accreditation that will be both rigorous and achievable by qualified professionals.

The government has said that they do not want fitters to be put off from working towards accreditation by cost or excessive bureaucracy, so they are working to create a system that strikes a perfect balance between consumer protection and cost to industry. Sources have said that it could be based on recognising existing standards certifications, or it could be something entirely new and separate, but the government has pledged to ensure that they build on the existing standards that professionals are currently required to work by.