Demand for Green Deal from elderly property owners stifled by fear of financial risk

Industry is working to ensure Green Deal qualifi cations and accreditation procedures are in place to protect consumers

Elderly people are being put off using the Green Deal by fear of taking on debt, despite an acknowledgement that they are struggling to heat their homes, government research has revealed.

The research also found older people were put off the Green Deal’s sister scheme, the Energy Company Obligation, because it is too complicated.

The results of the research, conducted with focus groups in March 2013 was revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The government’s summary of the findings said: “They [older people] are concerned about taking on a debt/further financial commitment like a Green Deal in the current financial climate.”

Building’s Green for Growth campaign has called on the government to introduce greater incentives to take-up the Green Deal, in part, to overcome barriers of complexity.

The government’s research also found older people trusted local authorities and voluntary organisations advice and information on energy efficiency schemes.

DECC also detailed the findings of focus groups conducted in January 2012 that uncovered broad support among consumers for a pay-as-you save model like the Green Deal.

But the government’s summary said: “There was less enthusiasm in the private rented sector, where tenants were reluctant to participate in a pay-as-you-save mechanism to improve the energy efficiency of their landlord’s property.”

The research found high standards, involvement of local businesses and good communications were high priorities for consumers.