Can you do the Green Deal yourself?

This month, the UK’s DECC launches its Green Deal. It’s basically a way to finance energy-efficient home improvements — you pay for your upgrades with installments tacked onto your power bill. The idea is that your upgrade payments are offset by your new energy savings… so it all evens out, theoretically.
Sounds like a Deal, right?
First item: if you act now, you may be able to come out on top of this one thanks to a first-come, first-serve cashback.
Apart from this, though, check out the fine print. The Guardian‘s Adam Vaughan points out that before your Green Deal Provider can make Green Deal Improvements with your Green Deal Plan, you have to get a Green Deal Assessment. Note the table at the end of the article — Vaughan did some work to find out who charges what among the Green Deal Assessors. You’ll probably pay £100 before you even choose a plan — if you need one at all.
Now, some companies (i.e. Mark Group) will do an assessment for free, and “two of the companies contacted by the Guardian,” writes Vaughan, “said they would refund the full assessment fee, or part of it, if works were also carried out with them.” A DECC spokesman whom Vaughan contacted is under the impression that “it is likely that some providers will offer free assessments as a way to attract customers.” So the program has free market intentions.
In the mean time, the Green Deal is just dolled-up financing. This might help with big steps, like installing solar panels or a new boiler. But step one is insulation. So if you’re so inclined, why not roll up your sleeves and give your house its own assessment? Here are some guidelines that Alvaro found:
http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits
http://www.myenergysolution.com/home-energy-basics/diy-audit.html
http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/DIY-home-energy-audit
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jan/28/green-deal-home-improvement?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487
Happy auditing!

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