The introduction of Green Deal marks a new approach to tackling the waste of energy by our buildings. Success depends on Green Deal Providers persuading building owners to invest their own money in improving the energy efficiency of their buildings – something that years of well intentioned exhortation and subsidies have had only limited success in doing.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) were introduced to increase the awareness of prospective buyers and tenants to the energy efficiency of the property they were considering. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a classic chicken and egg situation develop. Customers don’t know about them, so don’t ask for them. Agents aren’t asked, so believe customers aren’t interested.
Given the need to reduce the waste of energy and money, as well as cut emissions and our dependence on energy imports, we have to break this cycle. We need a more active approach to making homeowners aware of the potential to reduce their energy use. Green Deal is intended to help with this task.
Major retailers, Local Authorities, energy companies and others are expected to become Green Deal Providers. They will use existing customer knowledge and their marketing skills to identify potential customers.
There is a vast amount of consumer data either held by organisations or commercially available. This mainly covers socio-demographic profiles, buying habits and credit history. Whilst much of this data is termed “address specific”, little if any of it is actually “about the address”. Rather it is all about the occupants rather than the property.
But when it comes to improving energy efficiency, an effective strategy will require an understanding of both the customer and their property.
Thankfully, we start 2012 with some 6.6 million RdSAP EPC and a further 577 thousand SAP EPC on the central register for England & Wales. All of which genuinely are “address specific” and provide a level of detail about individual properties that has never been available before.
Government intends to make this data publicly available from April 2012. Using provisions within the Energy Act 2011, we will all be able to view the EPC for any property. More importantly for Green Deal, authenticated users, who have good reason, will be able to access full EPC data on a bulk basis, i.e. covering more than one property. Of course, all users will be required to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act as a condition of accessing the data.
Access to this resource will help Green Deal Providers target the right measures at the right properties. It will also increase the level of investment in energy efficiency, which is the goal of Green Deal.
This is another step towards making Green Deal a success and one that I warmly welcome.