Lean on me to build Green Deal confidence, says Energy Saving Trust
- Published on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 13:37
- Written by Matt Knight
Matt Knight is Head of Assurance at the Energy Saving Trust. Here he talks about new research findings which show the importance of building trust between tradesmen and the householders they work for
Hiring a tradesman to work on your home can be a worrying time – and no wonder.
Some projects carried out under the Government's Green Deal, like solid wall insulation, could mean structural changes to a property, while others, such as installing a new boiler, could expose families to dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.
Carrying out any building work on your home will inevitably mean letting someone new through the front door – a daunting prospect for many.
No wonder, then, that research by the Energy Saving Trust last month (May 2013) found TRUST is now a more important factor than price for householders hiring a tradesperson.
Half of 2,000 people surveyed online by Ipsos MORI said that a clearly displayed certification mark from a trusted organisation presented by a tradesperson was now more important than how much they charged when deciding who would do work in their home.
Small local firms topped the survey for the type of organisation householders would be most likely to hire, with almost six in ten (58 per cent) saying they would take on a trusted local business to install energy efficiency measures in their home.
Green Deal is a scheme which lets private firms offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses with no upfront payments.
Costs are recouped, as savings accrue, through a charge on the property (not the customer) with monthly payments that are, crucially, less than the savings made. Money is passed on direct to the tradesmen who do the work by the energy companies who fund it through the Green Deal scheme.
Following recent reports that cold callers were posing as Green Deal assessors while charging "administration fees" for agreeing to work under the Government scheme, the Energy Saving Trust's advice to households and businesses looking to install energy saving improvements under the Green Deal is to make sure that the installer and assessor are certified.
Tradespeople cannot install an energy efficiency measure through the Green Deal without being certified by one of 16 organisations, including the Energy Saving Trust.
In fact, the Energy Saving Trust is the only trusted, consumer-facing organisation providing Green Deal Installer Certification. We have been advising householders on energy efficiency for 20 years, and are now called upon by large businesses like Anglian Building Products, as well as smaller SMEs, to provide certification which allows them to build consumer trust and confidence.
What makes certification so crucial to the success of the Green Deal from a tradesman's point of view is that householders, because of the way the scheme is structured, may be unable to choose a tradesman they have worked with in the past. In those circumstances, asking family, friends and neighbours for recommendations – the usual routes to a trusted tradesman – will be of little use.
While ratings sites like MyBuilder.com and Trustatrader.com can provide some reassurance, only certification from a trusted organisation like the Energy Saving Trust can be relied upon to set a homeowner's mind at ease.
We spend time travelling to businesses who're taking on our certification services, and finding out what makes them tick. We look at their processes and procedures, then go on the road and inspect sites where they're working before considering certifying them to carry out Green Deal work.
Every business who achieves that certification receives a listing on our website, which has 3.5 million unique visitors every year and is a great place to start for anyone considering Green Deal work.
That extra effort, and of course our two decades of experience working with UK householders and businesses, mean that anyone who carries our certification mark is up to the job. And that's going to be an increasingly important thing to know in an age when trust is becoming less and less easy to build.