Landlords keen on Green scheme

Green Deal 'attracting interest' from landlords. Plus: just how green is Energy and Climate minister Chris Huhne?

If you see your landlord looking up at your roof the next time they call at your front door it might not be a cause to worry.

According to research conducted by the National Landlords Association (NLA), two thirds of landlords could have plans to install solar panels or loft insulation.

This sudden interest in green matters has been stimulated by the government's Green Deal - a scheme which promises to give landlords a loan to help them fund energy-efficiency improvements to their let properties.

This financial support is expected to become available in October 2012 with the loan being repaid in the form of a levy being added to energy bills. The savings that landlords and tenants could make on their energy bills is seen as a big advantage of the scheme.

Should the Green Deal be successful it is sure to create even more work for busy businesses such as Strenson Solar; a company which installs solar panels in Sussex and can advise about the benefits of solar PV tariffs.

Landlords will also be keen to find out about PV tariffs as the NLA survey discovered that almost one in four (24 per cent) of landlords are guaranteed to take advantage of the Green Deal while over one in three (38 per cent) are "considering it".

A small minority (17 per cent) exhibited an attitude reminiscent of mean landlord Rigsby in Rising Damp by saying that they are not a bit keen on the scheme.

The motivation of the landlords who are interested in the Green Deal are a little varied. Many said that they want to reduce bills for their tenants and become more eco-friendly while some, less altruistically, admitted to wishing to add value to their property's worth.

Commenting on the poll's findings, NLA Chairman David Salusbury said: "The scheme guarantees tenants lower utility bills while providing them with warmer homes and landlords will benefit from long-term improvements to their homes."

These are all advantages that politician Chris Huhne should be aware of. The Energy and Climate Change Secretary has been defending the coalition government's record on green policy at this week's Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham.

Huhne told the party faithful that there are now a million jobs in the UK's renewable energy economy with a further 250,000 expected to be created by the Green Deal.

He said: "In the 1930s, we did not create new jobs by bringing back the textiles, coal and iron jobs that were lost - we created new jobs in new industries and the same is happening today."

Mr Huhne name-checked wind-power initiatives in his speech but attracted criticism for not mentioning solar power.

Yet in an interview with Which? Consumer magazine shortly before he took to the podium, he revealed that he has plans to generate electricity at his own home by having solar panels installed.