Official Green Deal launch

The Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal, has been officially launched. Companies will pay for improvements on homes, whose residents will pay back the loan with savings on their energy bills.

The types of energy efficiency measures available include cavity wall insulation and double glazing.

The scheme is expected to save carbon emissions, make energy more affordable and keep people warm. However, some critics have warned that it will do little to tackle fuel poverty, as there is no guarantee the savings from lower energy use will outweigh the repayments.

Residents will be visited by an assessor and can receive advice on potential improvements from approved Green Deal installers. Companies will pay for the improvements through a loan with the Green Deal Finance Company.

The loans will be paid back over periods of up to 25 years, and at a maximum rate of 6.92%, according to DECC.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Green Deal will help thousands of homes stay warm for less. Those people will benefit from energy saving improvements - and their energy bills will fall.”

Mark Bayley, the chief executive of the newly created Green Deal Finance Company, said: “What makes it work is that the experience of energy companies is that people's default rate is very much lower than the experience in consumer credit and that's how we're able to construct very long term, low cost financing.

“And as people move house the loans they take out under Green Deal plan stay behind with their electricity meter.”

However Ed Matthews, head of fuel poverty campaign group Energy Bill Revolution, said: “The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation will not stop fuel poverty rocketing in the face of high gas prices.

“We call on the prime minister to use money from the carbon tax to super-insulate this country's homes.”

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