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'Fair' green energy deal offered by mutuals

A rival to the Government's Green Deal – which offers homeowners cash incentives to make their homes more energy efficient – was launched this week.

The organisations behind it, Ecology Building Society and The Energy Saving Co-operative, claim their deal is "fairer" because it helps local communities rather than boosting the profits of the Big Six energy firms.

"The Fair Green Deal does what the Government's Green Deal should do – puts power in the hands of homeowners, communities and small businesses, to help them capture the benefits from energy savings rather than hand these over to the financial markets and the Big Six energy supply companies," said Ewan Jones, the chief executive of The Energy Saving Co-operative.

Pilot projects are now available in Oxfordshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands. Their members can get advice on energy-saving improvements, which are installed through trusted local tradespeople, benefiting the community.

Homeowners that undertake energy-saving-linked renovations may then get mortgage discounts through Ecology's C-Change Retrofit scheme. The ethical building society will also waive its application fee for Energy Saving Co-operative members, giving a saving of £250.

Paul Ellis, the chief executive of Ecology, said: "If we're serious about cutting our carbon footprint we need to retrofit our homes."