Improve the energy efficiency of your home

green deal

green dealMajor retailers across the country are yet to commit to the government's "green deal" scheme which intends to give householders an environmental makeover, thus improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

Big traders such as supermarket chains and DIY stores promised that they would play a central role in offering the deal to consumers, but several have now said they would "wait and see" how the system worked out before making a final decision on whether to support it.

With the scheme set to launch on Monday, the absence of large retailers from the line up underlines the difficulties and confusion that have surrounded the scheme. A number of experts have warned it will be too complex and could disadvantage poorer people.

What does the scheme involve?

The scheme will allow households to sign up for improvements such as insulation and renewable energy installation, paid for through loans that are paid back by additions to their energy bills. The loans then become attached to the property, meaning future buyers will have to pay for past improvements, but the repayments should be offset by energy savings.

Those wishing to apply for the scheme will have to register to have their home assessed for green deal improvements.

Accredited inspectors will give advice on efficiency measures ranging from loft insulation, typically costing no more than about £200, to double glazing and the far more expensive solid wall insulation, which can cost more than £7,000 for a typical home.

However, successful applicants will have to wait until 28 January for work to start on any improvements, and for loans to be approved.

Ministers are also considering how to give people a financial incentive to sign up for the deal. Such cashback incentives could amount to £200m, although any incentive would have to be capped per household.

Free home insulation

You could also save up to £300 off your annual energy bill by signing up to get free home insulation.

Many of the big energy companies offer cavity wall insulation and loft insulation at no cost - something which could make a real difference to your heating bill this winter.

But don't hang about, as these deals are due to finish on the 31 December.