The Green Deal explained Getting a Green Deal assessment
If you wish to take out a Green Deal loan with a Green Deal provider, you need to have a Green Deal assessment. The assessment will also be able to show you the energy efficiency of your home, and will also look at the energy consumption that occurs in your property.
UPDATE: 23/07/15 - The government has announced it is ending funding for the Green Deal Finance Company and the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has been withdrawn.
This doesn't affect people with existing Green Deal Finance Plans or Green Deal Home Improvement funds. We will be updating this guide with more information soon.
A Green Deal assessor can be a sole trader, or part of a larger organisation. They will send round a Green Deal adviser to carry out a thorough examination of your property, and then recommend energy-efficient measures that would be suitable to install in your home.
Before you organise your assessment, however, make sure to download and print out the Which? pdf checklist, packed with helpful tips of what to do before, during and after your Green Deal assessment.
How will my property be assessed?
The Green Deal adviser will produce a Green Deal advice report made up of two documents:
- an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which rates your home’s energy efficiency on an A to G rating scale
- an Occupancy Assessment, which assesses how you use energy in your home.
EPCs are already in use, as they have to be produced when properties are sold or rented out. An EPC is a basic assessment of the fabric of your property; it assumes how many people live in the property and how they use their heating, so it does not take account of your actual usage or energy bills. The Occupancy Assessment is personalised to you and does assess your own energy use.
The EPC is used to decide the amount of Green Deal finance you can borrow. This means there is a risk - particularly for low energy users - that the EPC could overstate how much energy you could save, meaning that your repayments might be higher than the savings you make on your energy bills. In this case, the assessor is required to get a written acknowledgement from you, showing that you are aware of this risk.
You can find out more about claiming money back with the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund on our page on paying for the Green Deal.
Are Green Deal assessors/advisers independent?
The advisor is required to carry out an ‘impartial’ assessment, but is not required to be independent of a company selling energy-saving measures (a Green Deal provider). The adviser must tell you if they are linked to other Green Deal organisations and whether they are on commission. The adviser may only try to sell you products at the same time as doing your assessment if they have your express consent before they visit.
Green Deal advisers will recommend improvements that are appropriate for your property. The main requirement of advisers is to ensure that the package of measures they recommend meets the ‘Golden Rule’ - this means that repayments of the cost of installing the measures won't be any greater than the energy savings made on your electricity bill (which, remember, does not guarantee savings) - though this does not necessarily mean that it is the very best package for you. You are entitled to ask your adviser or provider if there is an alternative package that will deliver bigger energy savings and/or at lower cost.
If the adviser works is tied to a particular provider, check whether they are only recommending the type of products or services that the provider sells, and ask about other options.
It will be possible for you to get more than one Green Deal assessment and quote, but you may have to pay for each visit. So-called 'free' assessments may depend on you taking out a Green Deal with a particular provider, so watch out for terms and conditions on this before you have your assessment.
Can Green Deal providers sell other products too?
Yes, there is nothing to stop Green Deal providers selling you all sorts of other home improvements such as furniture, a new kitchen or bathroom, or decorating and building services. They just need to make the distinction clear to you.
Which? is concerned that in these cases consumers may become confused as to what is being sold under the Green Deal, and what is not but is also being sold on credit.
If you are interested in a new kitchen, don't sign up until you've read our research revealing the best and worst kitchen brands.
Is the Green Deal a government-backed scheme?
Not really. It is a commercial scheme with no government subsidy. Green Deal companies are not allowed to suggest that they are recommended or approved by the government, or that they are working in conjunction or association with the government.
However, the Green Deal is backed by government-approved standards and a code of practice giving additional consumer protections should something go wrong. For example, there is a Green Deal Ombudsman to help deal with complaints, although your first port of call for any complaints should be the provider that you signed up with.
Are the measures installed protected by warranties?
Most Green Deal measures come with a minimum five-year warranty and an extended 10-year guarantee to cover any building damage sustained as a result of the measures being installed. For solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation, Green Deal providers must offer guarantees for both the improvements and consequential building damage for 25 years.
You can find more information on solid and cavity wall insulation, including how to install, how much they cost and save and what to watch out for, in our expert guides on solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation.
Should you have a problem with a product after the warranty has expired, this would mean that you will still be paying for a non-functioning product and will have no protection. So, for example, if your boiler breaks down after the five-year warranty period has elapsed, you will still have to make Green Deal repayments on it (although these are limited to the boiler’s expected lifetime), as well as having to pay for repairs or a replacement boiler.
If you do need a new boiler, use our expert guide on choosing a replacement boiler to help you choose the best brand and boiler for your home.
How can I find out more information about Green Deal assessments?
Which? has created a detailed yet simple checklist guiding you through the steps you need to take before, during and after your Green Deal assessment. Download and print it here.
The Energy Saving Advice Service runs a Green Deal advice line - the number is 0300 123 1234 - which also provides advice on other energy-efficiency grants and general energy saving advice to both homes and businesses. In Scotland, call the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012.