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Are Building Reg changes for Green Deal getting too much stick?

posted by Tom Whitehead on 15 April 2012

tags: Green Deal ,

There has been quite a bit of debate in the media recently about the Green Deal since it was announced that the government is consulting on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations.

The changes proposed would see householders who are building extensions, converting lofts and garages, installing new boilers or replacing a set percentage of their windows, to spend an extra 10 per cent of the cost on energy-efficiency measures.

This has prompted some newspapers to brand the proposed changes as a 10% "conservatory tax".  However,  looking at the proposals in more detail there does seem to be fairly generous exclusions to the rule.  For instance,  you would need to be building a (quite large!) conservatory of over 30m2 for it to apply at all. 

Also,  the measures you would be asked to consider are all those that would come under the Green Deal so you would be able to get them on a Green Deal Plan with no additional upfront cost (and you might even get a saving).  Indeed,  if the repayments of Green Deal loans were to exceed the expected savings, you could refuse to comply. 

It seems to me that some sort of "stick" will be needed to encourage people to make energy efficiency improvements and intervening at the point when other building work or repairs is going on makes sense financially and practically for the homeowner.  

The truth is that energy efficiency is just not very exciting to most people and probably way down the list when it comes to home extensions and the like. Making this a part of the Building Regulations would at least make people aware of what they could do and if it costs them no more than they were going to spend anyway then adding in the energy efficiency would be a "no brainer".  

Update - 17.4.2012

Since I wrote this the Guardian and other sources have reported that the Number 10 has intervened and will be dropping the proposals.

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