Support for local authorities looking to generate customer demand for the Green Deal

The opportunity

A recent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report highlighted the opportunity for local authorities “to lead or to participate in programmes to improve energy efficiency and encourage behaviour change” in the residential housing sector.

The main “programme” in town is of course the Green Deal, which allows householders to take out loans to pay for energy efficiency measures, with the guarantee that the savings on their energy bills will be greater than the loan repayments. Last month, Ed Davey in a speech to the Local Government Association encouraged local authorities to “get involved in the Green Deal. Because local authorities can drive energy saving schemes at scale.”

The Green Deal undoubtedly offers benefits for local authorities – reducing fuel poverty, cost savings, local job creation and potential new sources of revenue, and some local authorities, notably Birmingham City Council have already responded to the Secretary of State’s call to action.

The challenge

But some significant barriers need to be overcome before local authorities can enjoy those benefits. The main one is how to generate customer demand for the energy efficiency measures.

For example, according to the CCC “many local authorities have expressed scepticism as to how they will be able to convince householders to take up Green Deal measures that are not “free”.

Low consumer uptake is a considerable financial risk – an enthusiastic authority such as Birmingham City Council will have invested £1.5million to become a Green Deal provider before signing anyone up to the scheme.

Support

Cause Action and Consumer Focus are providing support to local authorities facing the challenge of generating uptake for the Green Deal.

1. We have developed a practical planning guide for projects seeking to successfully promote energy efficiency measures. It provides a prompt for practitioners to consider the householder’s perspective when designing and delivering their projects.

2. The guide was created from the experience and best practice of the twelve projects featured in our report What’s in it for me? – Using the benefits of energy efficiency to overcome the barriers.

3. We are holding free workshops in September (in London, Birmingham and York) to share the learning from the report and support those promoting energy efficiency and energy use behaviour change.

Cause Action

Cause Action works with public sector organisations to design and evaluate programmes aimed at encouraging and supporting people to take positive action. We combine customer insight with social marketing and behavioural economics expertise to ensure our client’s projects effectively change behaviours and maximise social impact. We also provide training for organisations wishing to build their capacity in delivering behaviour change. For more details contact richard@causeaction.co.uk