A Green Deal that could have done so much. RIP

It could have been such a good deal, but it now seems the Green Deal, the green flagship of our current government is dead.

Going back to 2011/12 – the concept of a scheme that promised to reduce fuel poverty, reduce carbon,  improve our housing stock, and create a vibrant, certified (PAS2030) market sector – Green Deal looked brilliant. It certainly put sustainability thinking on the agenda of many organisations in the construction, maintenance, services and built environment sectors.

My workshops and presentations at that time, More Than Just a Green Deal tried to widen the debate – embedding more resilient and sustainability thinking into green deal. (see related Green Deal blog posts here)

But somehow along the way Green Deal got lost, became mired in politics, in energy company greed and bureaucratic red tape. The company set up by the Government to aggregate loans for the Green Deal was bailed out recently with a multi-million-pound loan of public money.

‘In a parliamentary inquiry held in September, MPs called the Green Deal a “disappointing failure”, with flawed planning that has left consumers without promised cashback and improvement works’

And plans for non domestic Green Deals seems to have quietly fizzled away in the corner …

A recent article in the Telegraph Your Money section Householders See Red Over Green Deal catalogued problems of the scheme

The Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy has become a headache for thousands of householders left with bungled installations or waiting for promised cash back payments that fail to materialise. In some cases, the energy companies responsible for carrying out the works have left householders with botched improvement works in the rush to meet energy efficiency targets’

One of the organisations supported to attain PA2030 under the MCS scheme has had certification for the last few years, yet has never had the opportunity for any installation under the scheme, yet must undergo re-accreditation on an annual basis. In light of the effort, system development and training the organisation went through, this is now a big frustration and laughing matter, making them very suspicious of further government backed green schemes.

Consequently Green Deal is unlikely to appear on any of the main political party manifesto for the coming election – and therefore most likely to be dismantled.  But of course it should be there, we need to be addressing one of the big sustainability issues in domestic building stock.

Back in 2012 I posed the question “how did we get to 2012 and still not have a viable solution to housing building performance”? We now need to ask the question – “how did we get to 2015 and still not have a viable solution DESPITE 2 years of promises, effort and funded approaches”?

A pity, a real pity and wasted opportunity.

Architects and Green Deal: greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals

‘Architects have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals’

A provocative statement  made by physician Dr. Claudia Miller, assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine, at a recent  healthy building materials panel moderated and blogged by Kirk Teske on his Point of View blog.

The panel* made a unanimous call for cooperation and transparency from building product manufacturers … the type of collaborative action our industry needs to shift the building materials paradigm from translucent to transparent, and from toxic to healthy

Here in the UK we are seeing the Green Deal  gearing up, which, putting aside the programmes finance and operational uncertainty, has a huge potential to improve public health and NHS health costs. A benefit not addressed or recognised to date. (Particularly given the UK’s lowest ranking across European Countries for health and housing related issues)

How would Green Deal look, and what additional health benefits would it provide, if the scheme embodied Living Building Challenge’s Red List Materials? Seems a no brainer to me.

Likewise the recently announced PF2 Education Funding Agency programme for schools in relation to educational building occupant health.

Slide1

Google may be the influential game changer, globally they are opening 40,000 square feet of office space a week (including a new UK HQ in London).  And none of those workplaces will use any of the materials on the red list developed by the Living Building Challenge. Google’s decision stems from two principles, a focus on health and vitality of its employees and cost of healthcare

The UK Collaborative for Living Building Challenge was launched in April and is currently developing an UK overlay for the standard. Get in touch for more information.

 
 
Panel:
Dr. Claudia Miller, an assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine,
Jason McClennan, founder creator of the Living Building Challenge and CEO of International Living Future Institute; 
Bill Walsh, executive director of the Healthy Building Network ,
Howard Williams, vice president at Construction Specialties, a global building materials supplier.

Green Deal Guidance for the Property Industry

UntitledThe Department of Energy and Climate Change has published The Green Deal: Guidance for the Property Industry in Great Britain aimed at property practitioners dealing with domestic or non-domestic properties

The Green Deal is designed to help householders and businesses increase the energy efficiency of properties and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Great Britain.

This guidance covers aspects of the Green Deal that will be of interest to the property industry, and it applies to both domestic and non-domestic properties. It is accompanied with some illustrations on how the Green Deal interacts with various property transactions. 

This guidance will be of interest to people selling, letting (social or private rented  sector) or transferring a property other than through sale or letting, as well as those advising them. This guidance also contains some information which may be relevant to those wishing to make alterations to a Green Deal improved domestic or non domestic property

Green Deal Strategic Support
Related Green Deal articles
My latest GD presentation: Revisited: More than just a Green Deal from martin brown
See also earlier More than just a Green Deal presentations

From Greendeal to Mindfulness in Sustainability

My More than Just a Green Deal keynote to the Merseyside Construction Conference March 13th 2013, making the case to see Green Deal as part of the Green Build and Sustainability agenda, and the need for doing the right green thing every time.

Can social media power the Green Deal (and Sustainability)?

Earlier this year, through Be2camp, the built environment social media advocacy, we published a guide on using social media to improve understanding and application of Green Deal issues.  

This was discussed in a 2degreenework interview with myself and Stephen Kennett 

Stephen Kennett : You’ve launched the ‘Social media framework for the Green Deal’, can you explain what it’s about?

Martin Brown: Of course – It’s a wiki guide to using social media to improve understanding and application of Green Deal issues. It was initially compiled by a group of social media and sustainability advocates all working in the Green Deal space, and brought together through the Be2camp movement.

The purpose of the guide is to explain how social media can be used to understand, learn, and share Green Deal learning. The aim is to look at four key themes: Green Deal workflow – in other words, how the Green Deal will work in practice; Green Deal delivery – installation and the skills issues; Green Deal business issues; and visibility – promoting best practice and good news.

SK: Why use social media in the world of Green Deal? …. Read the rest of the interview here 

…. Access the guide to social media for green deal here  and please do add to the guide …

Or for more information just get in touch or drop us a tweet

Carbon taxes to deliver ‘free’ #GreenDeal home improvements? #CSR

Reducing carbon emissions and lifting home owners out of fuel poverty traps were central to the development of Green Deal.  Reducing CO2 through Green Deal was part of the government’s fourth Carbon Budget to deliver the Climate Change Act 2008.

Yet amidst all the financial  assessment and standards debates over the last 12 months, these drivers seem to have taken second place.

I have commented elsewhere that if the Government were serious on these two aims they would fund home improvements directly, rather than through complex repayment schemes. In addition to reducing CO2 it would of course create employment and have other financial spending knock ons. After all if our social housing stock was still within local council or government control would this not be the approach taken?

Good then to see the report and study from Consumer Focus, showing that a Government carbon tax based energy efficiency infrastructure investment could:

  • Generate up to 71,000 jobs and boost GDP by 0.2% by 2015 and create up to 130,000 jobs by 2027.
  • Lift up to nine out of ten households out of fuel poverty, reducing energy bills in all treated homes by at least £200 per year
  • Cut household energy consumption by 5.4 per cent by 2027 and quadruple the impact of the government’s energy savings schemes – Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation
  • Cut overall carbon emissions by 1.1 per cent, including household emissions reduced by around 5.6% by 2027

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive at Consumer Focus, said:  Using carbon taxes to ensure our homes leak less energy represents a triple-whammy. This would simultaneously improve the quality of life of millions of people, slash carbon emissions and generate greater economic growth than other measures.

Government has the opportunity to use the large and stable revenues from carbon taxes to deliver the most breathtaking and transformative energy efficiency scheme that we have ever seen.’ 

But why wait? This could be a hugely powerful CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, opportunity. Construction projects and organisations could voluntarily offset CO2 emissions (if offset is the right word here) by improving the energy performance of badly insulated homes and families trapped in fuel poverty, within their community or neighbourhoods.

A rough calculation shows that if we value carbon tax at 20/tonne, a carbon tax scheme or voluntary CSR scheme would generate 2000 for each million of construction value, (based on Constructco2 construction project emissions)

Certainly enough to improve a good number of fuel poverty trap homes across the UK

FMB to offer Green Deal Installer Certification from Sept 2012.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is launching FMB Certification, a ‘complete solution’ registration and certification service to companies committed to delivering the highest standards of customer service and workmanship in the building industry. The FMB is pleased to be able to offer these services through a new agreement with NAPIT Group Limited, a UKAS accredited certification body for Green Deal, microgeneration and Competent Person Schemes.

FMB Certification will offer Green Deal Installer Certification for companies that want to be part of the growing energy saving refurbishment market. The Green Deal will allow the owners of homes and businesses to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties at no upfront cost, and will be supported by a new Energy Company Obligation to help deliver energy efficiency and heating measures across Great Britain, where they are most needed. In total, the Green Deal and ECO are expected to drive significant levels of spending on energy efficiency over the next decade creating new work for companies in the building industry.

Brian Berry, FMB Chief Executive, said:

“The Green Deal is an exciting prospect for the building industry and will create new business opportunities for a wide variety of trades, but companies must be approved to carry out work under the Green Deal scheme and that’s where FMB Certification comes in. As the Green Deal takes off we expect Green Deal certification to become a recognised mark of high quality service and workmanship among homeowners and other clients. The FMB has been providing information and training to its members to ensure they have the skills and knowledge required for Green Deal work and now they can prove it by becoming an approved installer with FMB Certification.”

Berry continued:

“FMB Certification will also offer Competent Person Scheme Registration and Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Installer Certification. This means we can provide a complete solution certification service to companies seeking new opportunities across a range of disciplines and building types. It is important to remember that there are plenty of excellent builders in the UK but proving it isn’t always easy. Our aim is to help smaller companies to do just this by managing all of their certification needs.”

FMB Certification will start to process applications from September 2012. Interested businesses can register their interest now to receive a priority application pack without any obligation by visiting www.fmb.org.uk/certification, emailing certification@fmb.org.uk or calling 020 7092 3881.