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.

Advertisements

sustainable resources and publications update

Items of interest to built environment + natural environment + sustainable communities filtered from the Sustainability Development Research Network (SDRN) update

Engaging Places
A new initiative has been launched by CABE and English Heritage to help every school exploit the world’s biggest teaching resource; ‘Engaging Places’ will champion and support teaching and learning through the whole built environment, from grand historic buildings to the streets and neighbourhoods where we live. Great web resource here

Creating green jobs: developing local low-carbon economies
This publication outlines measures to help create 150 000 new jobs in the low carbon economy – jobs that help save carbon, reduce fuel poverty, increase our energy security and build resilience in those areas at greatest risk from climate change. A must read document.

Policy Exchange Report – ‘Warm Homes’
This report argues that Government efforts to improve energy efficiency in the existing housing stock have been slow and expensive. The grants available are too complicated to administer and have had to be applied for on household-by-household basis, with those that do wish to upgrade required to cover a large part of the upfront costs. This has resulted in millions of homes not applying for the grants to which they are eligible and those unable to find the cash for upfront installation costs being excluded. In addition, such a variety of organisations are responsible for the delivery of energy efficiency improvements, including the Warm Front Scheme and the Energy Saving Trust, that effective joined-up action is prevented and the costs of bureaucracy increased. To quickly install basic energy efficiency measures in every household that needs them, ‘Warm Homes’ suggests that the structures of energy efficiency finance and delivery have to change and makes recommendations of how to achieve this. More…

Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society
The January edition of Building Research and Information includes a set of five commentaries on the earlier special issue ‘Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society’. The commentaries examine from different perspectives the opportunities, barriers and potential for significant carbon reductions through changing the social expectations and behaviours for what constitutes thermal comfort. The heating and cooling of buildings consumes a significant proportion of energy in developed countries and the trajectory of consumption continues to rise. Given that developed countries have a large and slowly growing building stock (less than 2% per annum), technical solutions to upgrading the building stock will take a substantial period of time. Altering societies’ behaviour and expectations surrounding the consumption of ‘comfort’ – specifically through how much heating and cooling we require – presents an important opportunity for lowering energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Commentaries are written by Jim Skea, Mithra Moezzi, Harold Wilhite, Russell Hitchings, and Ian Cooper. More…

Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty
A new coalition of leading UK environmental and social justice groups, convened by Oxfam and the new economics foundation (nef) and including Friends of the Earth and the Royal College of Nursing, has released a report – ‘Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty’ – showing that tackling climate change actually offers a huge opportunity to boost the economy and tackle UK poverty at the same time. The report shows how the need to combat climate change could present a huge opportunity to tackle poverty too. Key recommendations include: increasing household energy efficiency, reducing both emissions and fuel poverty; planning for an equitable transition to a low carbon economy (paving the way for the UK to capitalise on the opportunities and reap the benefits of the new low-carbon economy including the creation of new ‘green collar’ jobs; promoting sustainable public service provision, including low carbon food procurement for hospitals and schools; improving the existing housing stock (moving towards low carbon design in housing and urban development); and investing in a public transport system, which is better for the environment and more equitable. More…

Natural England Draft Policy – ‘All Landscapes Matter’
Natural England is leading on the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (ELC) in England.  This document sets out their detailed policy for working with and through England’s landscapes as an integrating framework for managing change and raising the quality of all landscapes and the benefits they provide, whether they are rural, urban or coastal, ordinary or outstanding. Key policies highlighted consider: landscape management, protection and planning; dynamic and evolving landscapes; landscape as an integrating framework; European Landscape Convention; valuing landscape; landscape, design and development; European and International context; Landscape Character Areas; and landscape monitoring. Natural England is keen to hear views on this draft policy, and invite written comments until the 13th March 2009More…

Community development in local authorities
This new report from CDF examines how community development teams are structured in local authorities. Findings are amalgamated from discussions with a number of local authorities, together with findings from a more formal process of investigation. It attempts to give practice-based insights and intelligence about the role of community development teams. It looks at different structural models and the key factors that help community development, and therefore the voice of the community, to have an impact. This report is part of an ongoing project and the final section poses questions for those currently engaged in developing CD within their local authority. More…


More @ SDRN