Wednesday, 19 January 2011

John Doggart says biggest challenge facing Green Deal is "building up our knowledge, skills and infrastructure"

John Doggart, chairman and founder of the Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA), talks to Juliet Heller about the challenges facing the Government’s Green Deal, which is due to come in at the end of next year.

The Green Deal plans to roll out retrofits on existing buildings across the country, helping us achieve the carbon emission reductions of 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. It will provide loans for energy efficiency which apply to the house rather than the owner and aim to be a ‘one-stop shop’ giving advice on grants and other information. Service suppliers like M&S and B&Q are expected to play a major role.

The SEA runs the Old Home Superhome Project which won an Ashden Award in 2009 for encouraging people to green their older properties by ‘superhome’ owners opening their doors to the public. As a member of the Existing Homes Alliance, SEA has helped prepare a report and recommendations for the Government on how to accelerate low carbon retrofits across the UK. The report supports the Green Deal, but sets out some of the practical challenges to bringing it in:

“There is substantial work to be done on developing the policies, frameworks and mechanisms that will make the Green Deal a success.”

John Doggart believes the biggest challenge is increasing capacity:

“The Green Deal simply won’t work if we don’t start building up our knowledge, skills and infrastructure right now. There are not enough people trained or experienced in the green building sector at present. It could also be a fantastic opportunity to create new jobs during these difficult economic times.”

“Indeed, some aspects of retrofitting are highly specialised, requiring more research. How do we ensure that there is adequate ventilation for insulation to perform properly in our climate? In some European countries there has already been mass scale retrofitting but these countries have different climates to ours. They don’t have the same problems of damp and old, leaky building stock that we have. “

There are approximately 26 million homes in the UK that could benefit from the Green Deal.

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