With the Green Deal launched just over a fortnight ago, I have been very impressed to see such enthusiasm around the energy efficiency retrofit agenda – from industry and communities alike – during my visit to Birmingham today.
My first stop involved meeting a range of local organisations who are engaging with community groups on energy efficiency. Thanks to Birmingham City Council and Carillion, who hosted the event, I was able to see for myself how the Green Deal is really opening up a dynamic market for industry to work with partners from across the public, private and third sectors to drive forward a revolution in home retrofit at a local level.
I have seen evidence of a budding supply chain – with numerous skilled people being trained up – in order to take advantage of the many business opportunities afforded by the Green Deal. I had the pleasure of meeting 15 trainees undertaking the last day of their Green Deal assessor training at the Green Works Academy. This excellent facility, which offers training and certification for people aspiring to work in the Green Deal market, is testament to the growing need for quality services in energy efficiency across the country. According to the CBI, one third of the UK’s growth last year came from green business. The UK energy efficiency market is worth £17.6bn per year and supports 136,000 jobs and is growing. The market is evidently responding.
I have also today visited one of a series of Nearer to Zero events, which have been held over the last year across the country. Hosted by Birmingham City Council, this event brought together key industry figures in the building sector to promote the benefits and opportunities of the zero carbon homes and energy efficiency retrofit agendas. The event has come at no better time. Buildings in the UK are among some of the least efficient in the world and account for 38 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. I was delighted to see so many organisations – from local planning authorities to house builders and developers – preparing to upgrade the country’s 26.9 million existing homes. The Green Deal truly is creating a new market, with new players and huge opportunities for national and local businesses!
So, I feel privileged to be able to visit Birmingham today to see the real action that is taking place to ensure the launch of the Green Deal gets off to a successful start. Well done everyone, and keep up the good work!