The Green Deal has been a long time coming. Since its appearance in the coalition agreement, it has taken the best part of three years to get going.
Over that period, the likes of us at Parity – who have been involved in retrofit for a long time – have been doing our best to plan for its arrival. What has been difficult to judge is whether it would be the wave that us early innovators rode to fame and fortune, or the tsunami that flattened us all.
Of course it’s still too early to be too sure of the effects, but from our perspective so far, so good. Our market-leading Home Energy Masterplan service did see a little bit of a lull in demand towards the end of the last year, while people waited to see what the Green Deal would bring. Now that side of the business is going stronger than ever. While the Green Deal is a good thing for some households, there are plenty of people that have taken the time to look into their options, and have decided they want something a bit different to help them improve their homes. Fortunately a good number of those people have decided to come to us for that help.
In the other big area of our business – CROHM stock assessment – the lull was entirely absent. In fact, it’s a service that has been accelerating steadily over the last 18 months. Social Housing CEOs have heard of the Green Deal and ECO, and want to know what the opportunity is for their organisations. And with budgets tightening in that sector, asset managers and their like are more enthusiastic than ever to make sure that they understand how to get the most bang for their buck in delivering retrofit programmes.
Looking a bit wider across the industry, the Green Deal certainly seems to have created momentum, whether or not you think it’s a good thing in itself. Retrofit is now more than just a buzzword, it really is an industry. And it’s one that’s starting to become more coherent and thoughtful. Which is good for everyone and is a direct result of everyone working together to develop and deliver the Green Deal.
An example of that is the Green Deal SME co-operative (“Retrofit Works”) that we’ve been working on. Hundreds of SMEs have expressed an interest in getting involved in an organisation that is intended to build trust, opportunity and collaboration at the smaller end of the market.
So say what you like about the Green Deal and its high interest rates, basic assessments and complexity. It already feels like it’s making the retrofit pie get bigger, and there’s more than enough for everyone to have a slice…