An industry body representing organisations in the provision of energy information and advice, says the Government should delay the introduction of the Green Deal for non-domestic buildings.
The Property and Energy Professionals Association
(PEPA), which counts the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers
(CIBSE) and the Building Research Establishment
(BRE) among its members, said current plans for the Green Deal for non-domestic buildings
are not far enough forward and the Government should, therefore, "re-think" its plans for the full introduction of its flagship energy efficiency policy
, set to launch in October this year. PEPA, which is not calling for a delay to the launch of the Green Deal for the domestic market, said the scheme should, nevertheless, have a phased introduction with non-domestic buildings being eligible for the scheme at a later date.
The Green Deal will enable homeowners and businesses to access loans for loft and cavity wall insulation, lagging and other energy efficiency measures. The Government says it will see billions of pounds lent every year and create hundreds of thousands of jobs between now and 2020. But, while it has made much of how the scheme will be paid for and rolled out to householders – including incentives for early take-up and measures to ensure those delivering the products and services are properly trained and qualified – to date there has been little detail provided about how the scheme will work for small businesses
looking to invest in energy efficiency solutions.
"We are strongly behind the Green Deal and the significant improvements that it could make to the energy efficiency of the UK’s buildings
," PEPA chairman Stephen O’Hara said. "However, with such a pivotal new framework, it is imperative that the Government gets it right from the off-set. It was evident from the recent consultation process that while plans for domestic properties are well advanced, there are still a number of unanswered questions relating to non-domestic properties. As such, we feel that more time needs to be spent to address these concerns and to make any necessary revisions."Concerns
In particular, PEPA said it is concerned about the "lack of clarity" surrounding the role of assessors and the official advice and guidance they will be permitted to offer to non-domestic customers. It says the level of training and qualifications they are being offered under current plans will also not be adequate to carry out non-domestic work.
In addition, PEPA said more work needed to be done around proposed charges for non-domestic properties, especially given that small firms – those businesses the Green Deal is currently aimed at – do not benefit from the same level of financial planning and risk taking that large companies do.
And it has criticised Government for not addressing the "overtly complex process for securing consent" to carry out energy efficiency measures within a non-domestic building.
"For non-domestic properties there is often a complex title, with sub-tenants, trustees and freeholders all involved. If consent from all of the previously mentioned parties is required the process is likely to be lengthy and cumbersome, often resulting in a failure to secure consent from all parties," it said in a statement.
"We are urging the Government to go ahead with the framework for domestic buildings as planned, while introducing the scheme for non-domestic buildings at a later date. This approach will allow homeowners to begin benefiting from the new framework as soon as possible, while allowing the Government more time to ensure that plans for non-domestic homes are robust, before they are introduced," said O’Hara.
PEPA raised its concerns in a response to the Government’s consultation on the Green Deal, which closed earlier this week. It is one of 600 organisations that responded to the consultation, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
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