The legal framework for the Green Deal came into force on 1 October.
The Green Deal was introduced by the Energy Act 2011 to help fund energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings. It will enable accredited retailers to supply, without any upfront cost, quality assured services to homeowners and businesses looking to improve the energy efficiency of their property. The full cost of the measures will be recovered through instalments on the energy bill over several years. The Green Deal is not a personal loan or an advance payment scheme, so there is no obligation to continue paying the instalments when the owner moves home.
Qualification for the scheme depends on a calculation, known as the “golden rule”– whereby the predicted savings from the energy efficiency improvements to the property must equal or exceed the cost of installation.
Those wishing to participate in the Green Deal will require a full property assessment by an independent and accredited advisor as to the specific measures needed under the Green Deal to improve the building's energy performance. The work will only be financed if it is carried out by approved Green Deal installers. The finance will be through an instalment plan attached to the utility bill and which will be attached to the property rather than the individual. Once a Green Deal finance plan has been approved, installation will be arranged and carried out by certified Green Deal providers.
The launch of the Green Deal will enable providers, assessors and installers to become authorised, to display the GD Quality Mark, and to prepare to deliver GD assessments to consumers. The registers for Green Deal providers, assessors and installers opened on 8 August 2012. Consumers will not be able to sign up to a Green Deal finance plan until 28 January 2013.
When a property is sold or leased, the new owner or tenant (if that tenant is to pay the electricity bills) will become responsible for paying the Green Deal charge. Those wishing to buy or rent properties next year should therefore check whether that property is subject to a Green Deal finance plan. The Green Deal will be disclosed using the Energy Performance Certificate. Buyers may wish to ask their surveyors to check whether the Green Deal measures are present and as are described in the EPC. Once someone has agreed to take on a property with a Green Deal, the seller or landlord will need to obtain an acknowledgment in writing that the buyer or tenant taking on the property is aware of the Green Deal and the terms of the plan, particularly the responsibility to pay the Green Deal charges. The rules on information, which must be disclosed at the point of viewing a property or making enquiries, and the form of acknowledgement that must be obtained are set out in the Green Deal (Disclosure) Regulations 2012 and the Green Deal (Acknowledgement) Regulations 2012.