The Government has set out secondary legislation to bring the Green Deal energy efficiency market into operation.
It has also introduced measures designed to strengthen consumer protection, reduce industry burdens, and implement the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC): 'More and more families are being hit by the rising cost of gas and electricity, but our inefficient homes are using a lot more than they need to. Millions of homes do not have full double-glazing. More than half do not have enough insulation or an efficient condensing boiler. Most do not even have proper heating controls. Overall our leaky buildings account for 43% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions.'
The Government-backed Green Deal programme is designed to help bill payers make energy-saving improvements to keep their homes warm. With the Green Deal people will be able to pay for some or all of the work done with the savings expected to be made on energy bills. ECO, a subsidy from energy suppliers, will provide extra help for those most in need and for properties that are harder to treat.
The DECC added: 'These policies will boost the burgeoning low carbon economy by supporting up to 60,000 jobs in the insulation sector alone by 2015, up from around 26,000 today. They will empower consumers by giving them new ways of funding home improvements and empower businesses by enabling them to compete for energy efficiency opportunities in new and innovative ways.'
In addition to setting out the parts of the framework that are already in place, the announcements are claimed to give clarity to the market by detailing next steps to getting Green Deal and ECO rules set by October, including, in legislation to be laid later this week, ensuring support worth around £1.3bn a year to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures across Great Britain to help tackle fuel poverty and climate change.
The DECC again: 'An increased focus on poorer areas should see an extra 100,000 households in low income areas benefitting each year, compared to our original proposals, bringing the total number of low income households and those in low income areas assisted to around 230,000 a year.'
Energy Secretary and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey added: 'We have listened very carefully to what industry, consumer groups, and other organisations have told us. Broad support for a managed, tested and careful introduction of the Green Deal fits exactly with our objective to provide an excellent customer experience from day one and a market where a range of new players can readily participate.
'I am determined to make sure that, in addition to creating huge opportunities for Green Deal providers and businesses along with thousands of new jobs, this new market in energy efficiency will deliver the very best deal for consumers.'
Following consideration of more than 600 responses to the Government's November consultation on the Green Deal and ECO, full details of the final policy are set out in the response document published today.
This includes ensuring that robust consumer standards are met, creating a market that balances consumer protection and burdens on businesses. Changes include improved consumer protections such as restrictions on 'cold calling', and new rules requiring Green Deal Assessors to declare any commission they might be receiving for carrying out an assessment and any ties to Green Deal Providers.
Changes have also been made to the ECO to include allow more hard-to-treat cavity walls to qualify for support, and to provide specific support for low income and rural areas.
The Government will shortly announce the contract awards for the Green Deal Registration and Oversight Body and the Green Deal Ombudsman and Investigation Service function.