The Green Deal has been slow to get off mark. Well, I say slow, I actually mean it’s still waiting at the starting blocks!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I haven’t heard of any residential interest in the scheme. I know Birmingham City council is undertaking quite a large Green Deal job on, but that is on the existing council housing stock and not the standard residential stock. To be honest, I think this is the market the scheme will do OK in, the council housing, not the free-spending private housing stock. So, with the Government now realising that the Green Deal isn’t making much progress, what is it doing?

It’s bribing people! Maybe not something a typically sleazy as that, but some gentle persuasion. It is stumping up £125m in cash-back incentives to help entice home owners to take on Green Deal measures. As far as glazing is concerned, this is how the money will be divided:

• Window replacement – single glazed to A rated £20 per square metre up to £320 maximum payment
• Doors – £40 per door
• Secondary glazing – £15 per metre squared up to £230 maximum payment

£320 cash back for a house full of windows isn’t the largest amount in the world. You have to ask yourself: “would £320 persuade me to take on a new loan for many years?” Personally, my answer would be ‘no’. What would persuade me to go for the Green Deal as a homeowner would be lower VAT on windows and doors. VAT is a tax in this country which I think everyone would love to get rid of. If us as installers could have gone to the general public and said ‘look, energy efficient windows and doors now only have 5% VAT’, I can almost guarantee it would have made the news. It would have been much easier for our industry to market to the consumer.

I think the industry, and organisations like the GGF would welcome such initiatives to stir interest. But I think the scheme will remain in the social housing domain and not the residential housing domain. There are still just too many reasons to sell against the Green Deal and I think the traditional means of purchasing new windows and doors will remain the main method in the coming years.