Pilot project shows face to face meetings with residents achieves 100% take-up

Face to face meetings with residents are the only way to increase take-up of the Green Deal and ensure the government meets its carbon savings target, experts have claimed.

The claim is based on evidence from a community-based energy efficiency pilot project, which achieved a 100% take-up.

The scheme, by social housing provider Gentoo, fitted out 47 bungalows in Sunderland with energy efficiency measures including solid wall insulation, windows and boilers. An average of £10,400 was spent upgrading each fifties bungalow on the estate with boiler replacement costs covered by the landlord.

Sally Hancox, director at Gentoo Green, said that talking to individual residents in a defined area was key to ensuring success of the project, which achieved a 100% take-up.

Hancox said that word of mouth between tenants was also key and a tenant liaison team consulted with the community before the work and remained present to deal with any queries.

“Following our initial 95% sign-up, after work commenced, the remaining tenants in the street who had decided not to participate asked to opt back, giving us 100% take-up,” she said.

“There are definite benefits of delivering on a larger scale, in particular cost efficiencies can be achieved. Our evidence also suggests that this is the best way to ensure high levels of take-up.”

She added that the £200m fund set aside to aid take up of the Green Deal should be used to give early adopters a payment. The government has yet to decide how this fund will be used.

Christoph Harwood, partner at environmental finance consultancy Marksman Consulting, said area-based delivery was the best way of accelerating take up of the Green Deal. “The majority of people don’t move until they see other people doing it, when they see it making sense,” he said.

“We don’t have time to hang around if we are to meet our carbon targets.”