Lost amongst so much criticism of the Green Deal following the recent release of the finance figures is a simple matter of semantics. What is important to keep in mind is that the initiative is called “Green Deal & ECO” and not just “Green Deal”.
There is, obviously, a great deal of negativity about Green Deal & ECO, the Government’s initiative for raising the energy efficiency level of our built environment. Critics are rightfully fixated on the 245 Green Deal plans which have been successfully requested, but yet are ignoring the 72,525 unique properties into which some 81,798 measures have already been installed under ECO. These arise following a Green Deal assessment, but ECO is just another means of paying for these measures.
Neither has reference been made to the 5,116 cash back vouchers that have been issued towards the cost of installation of the measures.
I agree there have been serious teething problems with the launch of Green Deal and ECO. Expectations from the outset have likely been too grand and are now unmet. The transition from predecessors CERT/CESP has been a critical failure. The processes and bureaucracy involved could also be more user-friendly. And yes, very little advertising has been undertaken by the Providers so the average man in the street won’t know about the initiative unless those who have been appointed to interface with the consumer are really marketing it.
But whilst acknowledging the serious pain many manufacturers are feeling as a result of these figures, we should also patiently admit that the entire initiative is still in early days and it was never expected to go from 0 to 60 in this short amount of time.
All of us will welcome the Energy Minister’s efforts to work with industry and re-evaluate the initiative “to increase demand, remove barriers and ensure that all parties can work together to shape the future direction of policy”. That said, going forward I would also argue that those critical of the initiative’s success or lack thereof ought to be looking at the complete picture and not just seizing on one particular aspect. They need to educate themselves about the complete initiative and put some balance into their reporting. Otherwise, they risk being disingenuous to their audience.