Monday 7 January 2013

Now is the time to promote efficiency

In January this year, I asked in HVP magazine whether 2012 was going to be the ‘year of renewables’. Now, as we put the finishing touches to the final issue of the year, it seems the only honest answer can be ‘no’.
Although the Green Deal has now been launched, the financing won’t be available to homeowners until January next year, and little has been done to raise public awareness of the potential benefits of renewable technologies.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has always said it is not prepared to invest in the kind of national marketing campaign that’s really needed to get the Green Deal and its various schemes off to a flying start. Instead, the government has maintained that responsibility lies with the heating industry for getting the public enthusiastic about improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
While it is true that the industry must be prepared to play its part, expecting manufacturers and suppliers – many of whom are struggling with falling sales – to find large amounts of spare cash to plough into consumer marketing is simply unrealistic.
That said, news of a £125 million cashback scheme to encourage early take-up of renewable technologies, along with the £12 million being given to seven cities across England to publicise the Green Deal and support local supply chains, raises the hope that DECC is now acknowledging it has an important role to play in ensuring the early success of the scheme.
There are even growing rumours that DECC is considering a £2 million national publicity campaign, which would go a long way towards supporting those installers who have invested time and money in making their businesses renewables-ready.
It is also heartening to see that a number of manufacturers and organisations are doing their part to get the energy-efficiency message across to as wide an audience as possible. Drayton has launched an online homeowner website to explain to consumers the energy-saving benefits of heating controls, and the Heating & Hot Water Industry Council’s Hole in the Roof campaign is promoting the simple changes households can make in their homes that will save them money.
As the weather gets colder and most of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies introduce significant price hikes, now is the perfect time to educate a public that’s keen to find ways to keep their bills down

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