New standards to protect Green Deal users

2nd June 2011

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Firms offering homeowners and businesses services under the Green Deal will have to comply with strict new quality standards, DECC has confirmed.

Third-party certification and accreditation will play an important role in ensuring consumers and organisations that want to improve the energy efficiency of their properties are not mis-sold products, according to an announcement from climate change minister Greg Barker.

Under the scheme, due to launch next autumn, individuals will be able to borrow £10,000 to install products such as cavity wall insulation or underfloor heating; the money will be repaid via a levy on the property’s energy bills.

To protect consumers from disreputable firms DECC has commissioned the British Standards Institute to write a standard outlining requirements for companies retrofitting energy-efficiency measures. Only those certified against this standard will be authorised to carry out installations under the scheme.

Similarly, the department is developing an accreditation and qualification framework governing those environmentalists assessing buildings and recommending suitable projects.

“The Green Deal will be the biggest home improvement programme since the second world war, shifting our outdated draughty homes from the past into the future. It’s vital people can trust it,” said climate change minister Greg Barker.

“I have heard too many cases of shoddy workmanship or dodgy technology from government schemes in the past, so from day one there will be strict rules about standards, information will be readily available and there will be a proper route for complaints.”

An independent oversight body will be set up to ensure that organisations operating under the scheme work against its code of practice and a dedicated advice line will offer consumers further guidance.

Welcoming the announcement Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, confirmed that members of the public were in need of clear advice about energy-efficient technology.

“Since feed-in tariffs were introduced in April last year, we’ve seen an increase in calls to our advice centres from concerned householders who are interested in green technologies, but faced with a raft of offers they are unsure about how to make sure they’re getting the best deal to help them reduce their energy bill,” he said.

“The Green Deal is an even more ambitious and wide-reaching scheme, so stepping in now to ensure people know what they’re getting into from the start is essential.”


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