Climate secretary Chris Huhne publishes Energy Bill and details of funding for home energy improvements

Climate secretary Chris Huhne today announced details of how the proposed “Green Deal” to pay for mass retrofitting of existing homes, will work.

Launching the government’s Energy Bill, Huhne said the proposals will create an industry improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes employing 100,000 people by 2015, and 250,000 by the end of the decade.

He said builders carrying out the work, will have to be accredited, allowing home-owners to have confidence that the work will produce the expected savings in energy bills.

The Green Deal is to work by funding the up-front cost of energy saving improvements, which are then paid back by the home-owners through a charge on their energy bills. Home-owners will still see reduced bills, because of the energy improvements.

Huhne said: “I’m confident the Green Deal will catch on with the public. It’ll make upgrading our nation’s draughty homes a no brainer. But I don’t want people to be hoodwinked by rogue traders or receive dodgy advice.

“Trust is important when it comes to having work done in our homes. Consumer protection will be built into the Green Deal from the word go. Accreditation, a quality mark, insurance-backed warranties – there’ll be no place for cowboys to get a foothold in the Green Deal.

“The Green Deal’s also a great business opportunity and shows we’re serious about the green industries of the future.”

The Energy bill also includes provisions to ensure that private landlords make energy improvements to their homes, and measures designed to allow investment in low carbon energy generation through powers to set regulations for energy generating companies.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council said:

“The Green Deal is the most radical attempt yet to get to grips with the nation’s inefficient and leaky existing building stock. In the housing sector in particular, the upfront cost of getting refurbishment work done has always been the biggest barrier – and that is set to be overcome.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to reduce carbon emissions, improve the fabric of our homes and workplaces and create potentially hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the green sector. But to meet these goals we need to see low interest rates on Green Deal finance and strong incentives for take up – for both homeowners and businesses.”

For details of the bill, click here.