More than a 1,000 people have now signed up to the government's flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme, according to new figures that suggest public engagement with the financing scheme is beginning to build.
The latest data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirms that as of the end of October 1,173 households had Green Deal Plans in progress, representing an increase on the 954 that were under way a month earlier.
More than 200 homes have now had energy efficiency improvements completed under the financing scheme, which allows households and businesses to undertake efficiency makeovers at no upfront cost and then pay for the work through a small levy on their energy bills that is lower than the energy savings that the improvements generate.
A further 360 households have accepted quotes for Green Deal work and 594 have signed up to Green Deal plans and have work pending.
Significantly, the new figures also show that the number of households undertaking Green Deal assessments designed to identify where they can make efficiency improvements has increased from 85,177 at the end of September to 101,851 a month later. DECC said the 16,674 of assessments undertaken in October was 19 per cent higher than the number undertaken in September, which was in turn seven per cent higher than the number undertaken in August, suggesting engagement with the scheme is accelerating.
Critics of the scheme, including the Labour opposition and many within the energy efficiency industry, have repeatedly argued that the scheme has failed to live up to initial hype and will fall well short of an initial government goal of delivering 10,000 Green Deal makeovers by the end of the year.
But the government has countered that interest in the scheme is building as more qualified Green Deal providers have launched services, while ministers have also pointed to the fact that a majority of households undertaking Green Deal assessments have gone on to install recommended improvements, even if relatively low numbers have used Green Deal finance to pay for the work. "Over 100,000 Green Deal assessments have now taken place, and over 80 per cent of the households assessed said they intend to install at least one energy saving measure," said Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.
The figures also confirm the number of efficiency upgrades funded through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme rose throughout the summer, with 303,795 measures completed under the scheme up to the end of September, following the installation of 58,497 measures in September, 50,212 in August and 44,927 in July.
"With more than 270,000 properties made more energy efficient this year thanks to ECO and the Green Deal, it's clear that Britain's homeowners are serious about making their homes warmer and taking control of their energy bills," said Barker.