Home insulation numbers plummet

The number of people insulating their homes has fallen dramatically since the onset of the Government’s flagship Green Deal policy.

According to figures from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, insulation was fitted in 1,138 homes during April, compared with 49, 650 during April 2012. That is a fall of 96 per cent over 12 months. On average during 2012 around 40,000 homes had their cavity walls insulated each month.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, around 47,000 installations need to be carried out each month until the end of the decade, to meet targets to comply with the Climate Change Act 2008.

At least one in four of those who had been employed in the insulation industry last December have now lost their jobs. Recent figures are not available, but in March the National Insulation Association was warning of 5,000 fewer employees. This is firmly in line with the publication “Dead CERT”, issued by the Association for the Conservation of Energy last autumn (see EiBI Oct 2012) – and firmly rejected as scaremongering by Government at the time.

Among the casualties is the Cornish-based form Enact Energy, which went into receivership on June 1. This Cornish-based firm was widely praised by Energy Minister Greg Barker, when it announced its intention to become one of the pioneer Green Deal providers a year ago.

Hard figures for the initial number of households signed up to the full Green Deal Finance package during its first half year will not be published until June 27. It is widely feared to be well below one thousand homes.

There have been many complaints from Green Deal providers about the red tape required by Government. “The guidance we have to comply with is 176 pages long” one told the Financial Times, which in common with many newspapers splashed the dismal insulation figures. Another said it took over thirty minutes to read out, as required, to prospective purchasers their consumer rights.

The main reason for the cavity wall insulation debacle is that previously this measure attracted a subsidy to reduce costs. This occurred under the government-backed programmes – Warm Front, CERT and CESP- each of which concluded in December 2012. Such help is outlawed under the replacement Energy Company Obligation, which only permits assistance with unusual “hard to treat” wall cavities.

While cavity wall insulation is just one of 45 different measures approved under the Green Deal, it is widely acknowledged to be among the most cost-effective options.

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