The Green Deal is here and the first consumers should be negotiating loans to finance energy efficient measures for their homes. However, although assessors will check measures meet the ‘Golden Rule’ (that is, the energy savings made should cover the cost of repayments, which will be made through the consumer’s energy bills), guarantees also need to be considered.
For example, a recent report suggests as many as 19 million doors could qualify for replacement with high-performance insulating doors (typically composite doors) under the Green Deal’s terms. (Commissioned by Door-Stop, the report, published in November 2012, estimates that there are 31 million doors over 10 years old installed in UK dwellings. And replacing 19 million of these doors with high performing insulating doors would produce appreciable annual energy and money savings for the homeowner.)
It’s thought that loans for this type of product will be taken for a period of 5 to 10 years, but most composite doors are only part-guaranteed for a maximum of 5 years, with only one manufacturer so far (Door-Stop) offering a 10 year guarantee on every element (furniture, glazing, locks) of its standard door. Without a 10 year guarantee consumers could face making repayments for a product after its guarantee has expired. That’s OK if the product still works, but a problem if the product has failed. Consumer protection is an integral part of the Green Deal and it’s a requirement of the scheme that the term of the loan is no longer than the lifetime of the measure.
Green Deal Providers have to work with the manufacturer to define this ‘lifetime’ so products with a 10 year guarantee will have an immediate advantage. Householders could find that if a problem arises after the warranty has expired they will still be paying for a non-functioning product and will have no protection.
Many major providers of Green Deal products have already taken this into account, with boiler manufacturers and cavity wall insulation companies extending guarantee periods on their products. Cavity wall insulation will be guaranteed for 25 years, and some boilers now have 5 year warranties. But it pays the consumer to be careful and ensure they have a guarantee to match their loan.
For more information on the Green Deal see www.greendealinitiative.co.uk