The real deal

The Green Deal is currently one of the most documented subjects in the industry yet many installers are not sure what it will actually mean for them. It is crucial to know the basics what could be the most profitable scheme this year. Here, Robin Richardson, a Honeywell Installer Network member, offers his views on what it will mean for his business.

What is it?
The Green Deal, which will be in introduced in the autumn of 2012, will be at the frontline of delivering energy efficient measures to consumers. Homeowners and leaseholders will have the opportunity to install different energy efficient measures into their property – with the added benefit of being able to pay for the work carried out through the savings made on their energy bills over the course of the Green Deal.
The publicity states that the deal will be supported by the £1.3bn Energy Company Obligation and Green Investment Bank and is set to boost spending on the retrofitting of properties. The Green Deal recognises that UK homes and businesses are throwing away up to £3bn of energy every year through either having minimal or very poor energy efficiency measures installed or misusing those that are installed. With this in mind, the Green Deal offers a huge opportunity to drive economic growth and help the installer increase productivity.  So, as installers, how do we get involved?
What do I need to do?
As an installer, we need to become ‘Green Deal approved’ in order to reap the benefits of the Green Deal.  All Green Deal installers need to be accredited and meet the minimum standard requirements, as well as adhere to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) code of practice.
Tying up with a Green Deal Provider is also key for installers – we need to make sure our names are at the top of the lists when it comes to implementing the Green Deal initiatives for the larger ‘provider’ companies.  It is better to do this sooner rather than later, before the scheme gets going.
However, there is another option to consider – becoming an assessor. The assessor is a core component of the Green Deal as without
assessment, work cannot be carried out. For an installer, this is a great opportunity to gain control over what options are available within the home and to upsell the correct controls measures needed for the home.

As all installers know, the customer is important – they trust the installer’s advice and technical experience to make an informed decision. With this in mind, it is essential that homeowners and businesses have reliable and impartial information about the energy efficiency of their buildings, and the best way to deliver this is from the installer himself.
Once a property has had an assessment and the finance for measures has been approved, installation is the next step.  The extra work opportunities present a wealth of business for those who are accredited. One advantage of the Green Deal is that it is not dependant on subsidy or government grant, it is financed through private capital and driven by consumer demand.
One key point to remember – educate yourself and your customers.  Assessors are best placed to educate customers on the benefits of energy efficient solutions, especially heating controls, as part of the Green Deal and the savings which they can deliver.  It is important to note that heating controls, and in particular the wireless variety, can be fitted quickly and without causing major disruption to the fabric of the house.  As a result, controls are simple to install, easy to program to suit the homeowner’s lifestyle and deliver instant energy savings by reducing heating bills.
For an installer to excel in the current economic climate, getting on board with the Green Deal will be something to consider now. Increasing productivity and being able to add value to the homeowner will drive business back to themselves.

 Green Deal Providers

Ampere GDP
Anglian Home Improvements
British Gas
CarbonLow Group
Empower Community
Enact Energy
Gentoo Group
Grafton Group
Insta Group
Mark Group
ReEnergise Finance
SIG plc
Toriga Energy
Willmott Dixon Energy Services
Yorkshire Energy Services

Understanding the real benefits is crucial in terms of what it will offer for both the homeowner and us as installers. However, for many installers, it may be the case that they would rather hold back until the scheme has started. Admittedly, no one knows quite how the scheme will pan out, but I’m hopeful that it will provide a great opportunity and, as such, intend to get on board as soon as possible.
In order to overcome any difficulties that may come from working alone, smaller independent installers need to plan properly and invest their time wisely in order to learn about what the green Deal can present not only for the customer but also for themselves. Several Green Deal seminars and training sessions are already running around the UK to help them do this.
The Green Deal can actually open a wider skills set for the installer to learn about technologies that they are not currently experts in. Homeowners will be reaping the benefits of “free” energy efficient solutions – so the installer really needs to be a part of it early on, to keep up in the competitive market and avoid missing out on a great economic opportunity.
Will it be a success?
The key to the success of the Green Deal will be how the Green Deal providers publicise the deal as this will determine how much uptake there will be throughout the country.
Most installers want the Green Deal to be a success, and there are certain steps that we need to be making to ensure that this is the case – namely becoming accredited and getting on board with a Green Deal Provider. The Government’s aspirations for the Green Deal are admirably high. Now it must show that its proposals will deliver for consumers and, in return, installers.