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Green Deal will build on the EPC

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.

21 Responses to “Green Deal will build on the EPC”

  1. Tony Johnstone says:

    So – they Guys out – almost universally – express discontent. The responsible department makes not the slightest effort to counter or assist.
    Those comments more or less mirror the concern of us commercial assessors who see the role out of commercial GD as equally unconvincing and over complicated.
    HMG have decided they need a policy – that policy must not cost (the treasury) money. So GD – whether it meets the countries needs or not.
    It is particularly depressing that treasury thinks it has any construction expertise whatever – after all, if they could not keep the country free from the current monetary crisis (which is their job) how on earth do they think they are qualified to interfere with mine.

  2. Green Deal Team says:

    Thank you to all those that commented on Brian’s blog, it is helpful to hear your thoughts on the Green Deal Policy.
    In response to GJF comments on February 6 at 12:15am, there is an existing Green Deal Advice Qualification and Accreditation forum chaired by Brian. This forum advises Government on the development of the advice network and the Property and Energy Professionals’ Association is a member.

    More information is available on the Green Deal stakeholder engagement pages of the DECC website:

    http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/green_deal/gd_stakeholder/gd_stakeholder.aspx.

    We are grateful to everyone that responded to the blog and we have taken on board these comments as part of the consultation process.

    • Charles R (dea) says:

      18 responces with the majority not averse to the concept of the Green Deal but everyone very wary about its implementation. We were all given high expectations of earnings from HIPS only to see them scrapped and the EPCs devalued. The bulk of the money available under the Green Deal will go to the few major providers (and their shareholders) while the many DEAs and GD advisors will work for peanuts. Do we expect anyone to listen, why should they,!!

      • Jon Knights says:

        As a DEA, we are under valued and there are cowboy DEA’s out there working from home. I can prove it. 2 years ago i carried out an EPC on a grade 2 listed building. Outcome was very poor as expect, Band G scoring 2. 2 years later, another DEA provides owner with EPC once recommendations were carried out. This assessment was also Band G scoring just 1 point!! Checked his assessment against mine. No way did he attend that property. Why, because he was paid less that £25 for the job.

  3. GJF says:

    Brian, I just wish you and your colleagues in high places, and salaries, would listen to the working DEA’s, (whom I thought you represented?) who have placd their thought within the blog, they all have similiar thoughts on the Green Deal proposal.

    Is it not possible for you to invite 10 or so of your loyal DEA’s, around your table as a steering group, who can inform you of the reality of a hard working DEA’s work load?

    From dealing with Agents to making the numerous phone calls to get the appointments, to working out of hours to ensure the job gets done, (properly) in time for the EA to be happy, (and obviously do a coloured floor plan) etc, etc.

    On a constructive point – I’m sure this would be very helpfull to you when you meet with the people of influence next!!

    I have just completed the “face to face” training course at £75 plus VAT, in addition to the £90 plus VAT for the ABBE voucher to apply for my exam, to learn that within the examination I will be asked how to run my business, and any complaints procedures, even though I have never had any in the 4 years I have been producing the EPC, (Surely this must stand for something?)

    The only matter of consistency I have noted during the DEA up-skilling programme, is the very fact that all the accrediation companies valued the “face to face” training at £75 each, so if you can have similiar thoughts on the fees, surely you can have similiar telopathic ideas when it comes to telling the DCLG the Dea’s only need to be informed of the changes at the 1-1 session, so they can get on with building/protecting their business, rather than the stress of another examination, and let those who want to become GDA’s go off and train up at their own cost, and work evenings and weekends for little reward!!

    Is the £200m Government investment being paid for, by ALL the 12’000 or so, DEA’s having to pay the training and examination fees??

    I am looking forward to passing my ABBE exam, so I can spend 1/2 hour on the phone to my potential client,asking if they have any documented evidence for the next day’s appointment, (history tells me, that the client forgets about the appointment if given longer than 48 hrs notice) then take longer on site, additional time on my PC, lodging the information, for the same or less money!!? I’m sure your business does not run on this model???

    PS: What happens if I do an EPC in the last week of March but don’t get paid until April, will I need to go back to the property to collate the further information, or will their be a transition period, i.e lodge the address and not get charged until it is finalised?

  4. Mal Bennett says:

    Just read the Green Deal summary of the Govenments Props (yes I know! I blame the masters in Environmental science)

    The ave person moves 5-6 times in their lifetime. This Green deal only really works (financially) if an energy bill payer stays in a house for the duration of the loan. Otherwise the interest paid on the loan ( if not kept super low ) makes it not very pretty financially.

    Lets say double glazing, CWI, new boiler and loft insulation are required. £6050 for the lot, with an energy saving of £400 per year making the max payment collected £33.33p a month.

    Interest (2.3.2 box 7 low cost finance) should be lower than 11%….Er okay lets say 5% super deal with the banks that would mean a payback period of 15 years!!!!!!

    Lets say my monthly bill is £100 I save £35 on having a C rated energy efficient house. My bill is then £65 plus my repayment of 33.33 green deal loan. A £98.33 bill what have I saved??? This does not take into effect the 15% raise in fuel bills last year for year on year fuel bill increase.

    The big six will start assessing so will the big DIY chains and the big supermarkets. All linked to assessing and selling. I’m no capitalist basher but seems to be a bit of a big thing going on.

    I like the bit that says if you cant pay your green deal loan for any reason the supplier has the right to cut you off from any energy it may supply. Makes you want to sign up straight away!!!

  5. David A Dip HI etc says:

    Great comments – all factual and well sounded in my opinion – lets look at some precedent here.

    There are many thou Home Inspectors who paid between 5 and 8k (+ travel, accom, study materials and neccessary tools fees). to address the Goverments requirement (and I stress REQUIREMENT) to introduce HIPS and the key component on Home condition surveys. when many of us were 3/4 way through the course, the HCS requirement was dropped by the govt. in late 2011 the Home Inspector qual was formally de-recognised by the govt and asset skills.
    Summary: govt plan, requirement, invest, left in the lurch. (NB I am aware that there now currently claims against the CLG for reimbursement)

    Roll on 2012.
    The Govt require ‘everyone ‘ to train as green deal advisors.
    To avoid doubt – all current DEAs must pass the April 991 convention uplift (another £120 + another £75 course fee x how many 1,000′s in the pocket for the accred bodies). Even after this, during the summer there will be AN ADDITIONAL COURSE AND EXAM to pass to become a GDA. such a course is likely to be in the region of £1,500.
    Deja Vous?
    To stay in the game, every DEA must gain additional the GDA qualification only to find that Green deal providers (AND ACCREDITATION BODIES AFFILIATED TO GREEN DEAL PROVIDERS -DEALS HAVE AREADY BEEN MADE WITH BIG DIY STORES, MERCHANTS, ETC) have already got their own GDA’s on board, offering EPC;’s for free, and fleecing everyone left right and centre.

    The GD scheme smells of HIPs mark 2, and has every sign of crashing and burning the same way.
    Interestingly, the coalition govt has let the yellows ‘ handle’ this policy, and letting them go down in flames with the Green Deal policy at the next election.
    If anyone is thinking of spending money on uplift and GD course fees…. save your money. Use it to buy a flight to New Zealand instead.

    • AnneH says:

      I agree with a lot of what David says. Especially about the big Green Deal Providers having it all sewn up and there not likely to be work for the independent DEAs and Green Deal Assessors (who will have paid for their own training, thinking it’s a government requirement, so there is bound to be work available – sounds familiar!). I know of two public bodies who have recently trained up some of their own staff to become DEAs so that they will be ready to train them to do GDAs and keep them on he payroll. As if the country needs more DEAs!! I would hope that the likes of B&Q and Tesco (?) would appoint ready qualified DEAs and then pay for their GDA training but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Stewart King says:

    As a professional Energy Consultant working for the Carbon Trust and privately for industry and commerce I was initially excited by the Green Deal and what opportunities it might offer my clients – especially small businesses that do not qualify for Carbon Trust assistance. Having attended the CIBSE training session however I have now virtually written off any involvement with this scheme as it appears doomed to go down the route of the domestic EPC program with rates for Assessors starting low and going down, down, down. I just can’t see any sane customer paying for professional energy surveys within this scheme – not when they can get a supplier backed survey for peanuts – probably free – although not really free as the costs will be loaded into the final products supplied. A potentially great scheme sadly not thought through to reality.

  7. Fred says:

    I started out at the very beginning, self employed for 2 years and another 1 year working for an EPC provider. Like everyone else I was asked to travel many miles, collecting keys from EA’s and then returning them. Panels started paying £25 per EPC and the firm I worked for made alls its staff redundant unless they wished to be self employed. I was asked to do multi million pond properties in Chelsea and Mayfair where parking can be £6-8 per hours + congestion fee all for £22.Also had to endure endless audits, phone calls from EA’s and PP’s who wanted an EPC within 24 hours of instruction. I was working from 8pm till 7 pm and then coming back to a few hours more of paper work , calculations and audits.

    I finished in 2009 but still carry out the odd EPC to keep up to date remain accredited. The new guidance notes for Green Deal accreditation contain many of pages of new regulations and needless paragraphs telling me about information already covered.

    I do not mind paying say £50 -£70 exam fee and it will be a good opportunity to update my skills. However if feel the fees will still be £20-£40 most. Interestingly many EAs still charge their clients £70 -£80 and then take the lions share.

    This Green Deal has all the hallmarks of the last fiasco by the Lab govt. No mention of average EPC cost and lost of other voids. Good luck to all my fellow DEA’s out there and lets not get bullied again by all the Panel Providers (PPs) that are sure to spring up and deprive you of your hard earned money. Most of us work(ed) and invested a lot of time and money into this profession and were right royally screwed.

  8. Steve DEA CEA says:

    having been ‘in the game’ from the outset, I have seen many come and go starting with what was a reasonable income, to incompetant cowboys carrying out EPCs for peanuts – its largely due to these idiots that has seen the EPC fee drop to as low as £15. In my mind anything less than £35 means the EPC has been carrried out negligently and basically won’t be worth a carrot. A discussion at IDEA a couple years ago suggested a minimum fee would be £48.
    With the extra work required from April I would suggest a national minimum fee should be around £75.00 What people forget is the increased costs of travel and going to the petrol station with gold bars every time, insurances and lodgement fees, processing time and audit time, and at the end of it still be afford to put food on the table!
    The same thing happened with commercial EPCs, DECs etc – accreditation bodies are more concerned with selling training courses than they are representing asessors interests.
    As mentioned by someone else, I fear that once DEAs have forked out for yet more training, exam fees etc then along will come more training coures on offer for newbies to get the GDA qual – obviously heavily discounted and prioritised for their mates at Br gas, B&Q etc.
    When DEAs have fought for their interests to be heard for over 4 years, and the refusal to enforce EPCs by trading standards, now we all (8,000? 12,000?) have 6 weeks from mid feb to get the upgrade qual. We all now how long ABBE takes to turnaround exam results…..
    A suggestion? even though 6m props have epcs thus far, its only <25% of the housing stock, surely information would be more credible if every dwelling had an EPC; give everyone a shake up and a) reduce the EPC life to 3 years and b) make it compulsory for every house to have an EPC by December 2012. Likewise every commercial property should have a DEC. In my view EPCs etc should be all or nothing.

  9. James Lloyd says:

    The heritage sector has raise concerns that the RdSAP etc methodologies on which EPCs are based, often produce inaccurate results (for example, fuel costs are typically half or a third of those indicated by the EPC) for buildings of traditional construction. There is a wide range of reasons for this, such as: an assumption built into RdSAP that traditional buildings are energy-inefficient; RdSAP etc ignore factors important in the performance of traditional buildings, like thermal mass, small windows, the use of shutters and thick curtains; RdSAP etc ignore many of the tools that can be used to make traditional buildings more energy efficient, like draught-proofing and floor insulation.
    In addition, the RdSAP etc methodologies that EPCs are based upon often produce recommendations that are: physically inappropriate for these buildings (for example because they reduce breatheability, leading to fundamental damp problems); less cost-effective than claimed (because the costs of the work are higher than in buildings of modern construction); damaging to the heritage significance of the buildings; and illegal, unless listed building or other consents are obtained, where necessary.
    A SAP-based methodology for rating traditional buildings will not be accurate due to the ‘u’ values provided for their construction materials. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, English Heritage & Historic Scotland has useful research on this issue. The recently formed Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance should have all of this information on a central accessible database in March.

  10. MJR says:

    As a homeowner I cannot see any incentive in the scheme. To repay the Green Deal loan from savings made on my bill will take far too many years, from what I can tell this is not therefore going to reduce my energy bill, I have to try and sell my house with this debt attached and that’s all after I’ve spent hours wading through what the Green Deal means. Is it worth the hassle, probably not.

  11. EPC says:

    Is the government opening a can of worms, not all epcs are carried out correctly so what is going to happen when people are contacted by green deal providers telling them there walls need insulating only to find it is already insulated, epcs are going to be even more scrutinised along with the assessors who have given the incorrect data.

  12. David Rose says:

    It wasn’t chicken and egg – it was a false start. The EPC launch coincided with the biggest downturn in property sales in a generation or two. If the market had been buoyant we would have seen the value of a good performance certificate recognised and it would have spread by word of mouth amongst sellers and agents. Instead we’ve seen EAs force down the price so now only drive-by cowboys are bothering with them. On the bigger picture Roger Parker has got it absolutely right. DECC must listen to specialist, ‘in field’ sector practitioners and working experts and not cave in to corporate lobbyists.

    • All your comments are very valid, particularly reiterating Ron Parker’s point very eloquently; DECC must listen to the ‘in-field’ expert and the role of the Assessor has not been well supported by policy and the economic climate.

      However, if the EPC was a mechanism to encourage energy saving I agree it was a false start, but why? Surely to launch a form of report on home energy savings in a period of personal austerity and rising fuel prices is good timing? Granted the volume was reduced but the impacted of the EPC should have been heightened.

      I would suggest that the flaw with the EPC is that the recommendation report is typically produced when the recipient has much more pressing things on their minds, such as moving home. How do you get this valuable information to the forefront of their minds when they have more time to consider saving energy and reducing bills?

  13. I am not sure that this article gives the real answer. It’s not “chicken and egg”, but “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
    The EPC arrives at the wrong time, typically when moving house, and it never gives a strong imperative to act on it’s own. When a strong one is there – a larger than expected bill arrives, fuel price increases, information on energy saving technologies, etc – the EPC isn’t to hand, but filed away in the “house file” or something similar.
    We are using the calculations behind the EPC to try and link the “intelligence” from the EPC to a customer who is already acting on an energy saving impluse. The result is a well informed customer who is much more likely to act.
    We look forward to the release of the SAP data – it will mean that we can provide an even more accurate service, and hopefully encourage even more people to reduce their energy bills.

  14. M.Jones says:

    Another reason people do not trust the EPC, is because of the over supply of DEA’s thanks to greedy training providers helping to force down fee’s meaning people are receiving inacurrate certificates, DEA’s are running round like headless chickens trying to do as many as possible at a very low rate, already we have seen comments from the likes of Mr Scannel and eleswhere that accreditation bodies will set up fast track DEA/GDA training and potentially flood the market yet again, disillusioned GDA’s on low basic commissioned based salaries will be a real threat to the Green Deal, as they will seek to recover training fee’s by any means, DECC why do you not listen to people who actually do these jobs instead of the vested interested all the time, what’s needed is a set fee for GDA’s, it’s so obvious why can’t you see it?.

  15. Roger Parker says:

    Isn’t anyone listening in DECC. You all seem so buried in Process, believing your own propaganda and modelling, that you are not putting your heads about the parapets to realise you are creating an enormous bureaucratic monster of an express train hurtling towards the buffers of a flop. The whole Deal is conceptually flawed.
    Firstly, the Deal is a scam to cut public subsidy. CERT will be scapped. It is Treasury and philosophically driven.
    Secondly, the Deal is moving the required capital expenditure of the property owner onto the property fuel bill-payer (usually the occupier). They are often not one of the same. In the rental sector, the tenant is being expected to pay for a Landlord’s improvement expenditure of the property they occupy! and in one gov.document, they even suggested tenants would be prepared to pay a premium on the rent to occupy an energy-efficient building – ie. pay twice. I DON’T THINK SO!!
    Thirdly, politicians go on about the War on Climate Change; and CC being one of the greatest challenges of our time. If this is such a societal threat, then why is the Gov’t leaving it to the predilectation of individual property occupiers and owners to tackle this omnipotent threat. When the UK changed over to natural gas, the choice for owners/ occupiers was: allow the engineers in to make the changeovers to gas equipment or be disconnected. No arguement. Similarly with Digital switchover. Analogue gone, good working TV’s useless overnight. So why aren’t buildings being compulsorilary assessed, like they can do for fit-for-human-habitation, and then require Works to be carried out to bring the house up to the required E-Eff standard: and within a specified period of time, or works will be carried out in-default and the cost charged to the owner or by a base-rate interest levy charged against the property with the Land Registry.
    Why is the Gov phaffing about if this is a War we are fighting. It’s actions do not match it words, and for the reasons above, I fear ths express train is going to hit the buffer of failure.
    Roger Parker, Commercial Energy Assessor

  16. John Siddle says:

    As an EPC accessor we all knew when we trained and became aware of the Landmark Database, that it would only be a matter of time before Councils and Government made use of the data that we were collecting.
    Big brother really is becoming of age.

    Like Tony, I have always fully explained the merits of the EPC to the client, in some cases it was the only way to thaw a frosty reception.

    I would add that the EPC had eventually gained full acceptance by Estate Agents and customers when it was part of the HIP’s and the HIP’s was a good vehicle to make EPC’s both pay for accessors and fair to clients.

    Once the HIP was scrapped by THIS GOVERNMENT the EPC went back under the control of the Estate Agents who then screwed the EPC Accessor to the point that it has become unprofitable to continue and many have packed it in.

    If reasonable and stable prices are set for the EPC instead of being at the mercy of large local monopoly estate agents and data collectors then it will recover and be the asset it always was.

  17. As a DEA from the outset of the EPC it is good to see some greater positive use of the EPC. I take slight umbridge with the Chicken and Egg comment as I always spend time explaining the pratical merits of the whole document. However I am not sure my understanding of the Selling on of a property which has Green deal debt. A large house wth low occupancy will use less energy than the same house with a large occupancy. Therefore I cant see how the initial Golden Rule to a property can be applied universally to that property.

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