Dealing with the Green Deal

The energy efficiency revolution has officially begun. 28 January marked a turning point for the industry as the Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme, The Green Deal, fully commenced.
Although ‘soft launched’ in October 2012, no Green Deals could be signed until 28 January and only Green Deal Assessments and Installations under the Energy Company Obligation were able to take place.
Since the launch, a number of Green Deal Advice organisations have been reporting surges in demand for Green Deal /ECO Assessments with one of the largest in the UK, Green Deal Consulting, reporting more than 400 a week taking place.
Thomas Farquhar, Sales Manager for Easy Green Deal, believes that the full launch of the Green Deal has already led to a spike in consumer awareness and demand for both assessments and installations.
“National newspapers are already running the Green Deal adverts from DECC, making now the perfect time for prospective Installers and Advisors to have a look at the requirements and potential of becoming a GDI or GDA.
“The one key bit of advice though is to do your research and get all the answers you need to make the right decision for your business”.
How does the Green Deal work?
The Green Deal offers a property owner (home or business) energy efficiency improvements – such as a new gas boiler, glazing, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, etc – installed at no up-front cost. The cost of this installation is then recouped through savings made on the property owner’s energy bill.
Each property is assessed by a qualified Green Deal Advisor, an approved Green Deal Installer completes the work, and the Green Deal Provider is responsible for the up-front funding to pay for it all.
What does the Green Deal mean for an installer?
As an existing installer, the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) offer the opportunity of new, growing work streams for your business. By diversifying into these areas, it is possible to take advantage of the expected growth in demand over the next seven years as we approach the Government’s carbon commitments.
By becoming a Green Deal Approved installer, you will be able to work under both Green Deal and ECO.
What is ECO?
The Energy Company Obligation provides support to those on lower incomes, the vulnerable or those with hard-to-treat properties. In these situations, the Energy Company Obligation can assist or fully cover the costs of the installation with no repayment necessary. ECO work must be carried out by an installer who is compliant with PAS 2030 or is Green Deal Approved.
How do I become a Green Deal Installer (GDI)?
To work under the Green Deal, you must be a Green Deal Approved Installer, which means complying with the standard PAS 2030 and the Green Deal code of practice. By being compliant with these standards, you will also be able to undertake work under the Energy Company Obligation.
To become a Green Deal Installer, a Green Deal Certification Body will assess your Quality Management System and Business Processes, and ensure that you have relevant qualifications and an example of previous work you have fitted. Qualifications can include Gas Safe registration.
The process of showing compliance with Green Deal Standards and/or achieving Green Deal Approval should not be feared or seen as overly onerous as you will already be operating many of the processes in your day-to-day business. These standards are quality standards to ensure the Green Deal Quality Mark is one of quality combined with technical competence.
Should I become a GDA?
One common question asked by installers is should become a Green Deal Advisor (GDA). To become a Green Deal Advisor, you need to train (or already be trained) as a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA), usually a three or four-day course followed by a portfolio of example property assessments.
Having become qualified, it is necessary to attend a GDA training course – usually around three days – followed by the submission of a portfolio. The typical cost for these courses combined is around £2,000+VAT per person.
All trained Green Deal Advisors must be a member of a Green Deal Assessor Organisation (GDAO) that is approved and audited on a regular basis, lodges the Green Deal reports, etc. It is possible to become your own GDAO, which involves an assessment from a Green Deal Certification Body to ensure compliance with the Green Deal Advisory Organisation standards and Green Deal Code of practice.
This process will also verify the qualifications of any GDAs that work for you.
This will add additional cost so joining an existing GDAO may be a more appropriate option for many sole traders and small businesses.
Becoming a GDA/GDAO could represent a great diversification for your installation business should you wish to make the investment, but consider becoming a GDI first as this builds on your existing work stream. Many Installers are simply working with a local GDA/ GDAO to begin with to see how the work builds before training in a new area.
Easy MCS Ltd is a MCS Certification support and renewables training specialist, who offers a range of services including renewables installation training courses on technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal and heat pumps, alongside MCS certification support for new installers, and MCS on-going support for existing MCS installers.