The coalition government is looking to allow social landlords to tap into the £7 billion a year private sector retrofit market to emerge from its ‘green deal’ scheme.
Following months of uncertainty about how social landlords could participate in the scheme, Inside Housing understands that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is now encouraging housing associations to play a key role as official ‘green deal providers’.
This could see social landlords access new revenue streams from financing and delivering energy efficiency measures in the 26 million existing homes the deal will tackle.
Housing providers could compete alongside giant corporate retailers such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and B&Q to provide finance and deliver services in the owner-occupier and private rented markets as well their own tenants’ homes.
Under the government’s green deal, every home in the country will be offered up to £6,500 in energy efficiency measures by certified green deal providers which will range from installers and retailers through to companies offering finance.
The upfront costs of the measures will be paid for by private sector investors, using the resulting savings in energy bills to repay the cost of the works over 25 years.
The Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes is working with the National Housing Federation and a selection of social landlords to examine how they can best deliver the dreen deal.
Olivia Powis, London regional manager at the NHF, said: ‘We could play an intermediary role co-ordinating contractors and financiers with tenants, or we could act as delivery agents, or potentially do all of it.’
One housing association sustainability head involved in the talks said he was excited at the prospect: ‘If they [the government] do this right, this won’t appear on housing association’s balance sheets, so we should be able to borrow against the green deal. This should produce a much-needed significant new revenue stream for providers.’
He said that the green deal had previously seemed to be focused on the private sector. ‘DECC is realising that this is what we already do - there isn’t a supply chain like us [social landlords]. This is certainly a sector we could easily move into,’ he added