Energy Saving Scotland Home Loan Scheme Evaluation findings

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1 Energy Saving Scotland Home Loan Scheme Evaluation findings August 2010 Prepared by: Kate Lawson Contact details:

2 This document provides findings from the evaluation of the Home Loan Scheme, based on interviews and data analysis for loans made up until April respondents in total were interviewed of whom 41 had received a loan, 39 had been offered a loan but hadn t claimed it at the time of the evaluation and 84 had been sent an application form but had not yet applied at the time of the evaluation. Summary of findings Customer s decision making process Those who apply for the home loan are primarily motivated by saving money. The loan is used extensively to replace boilers that are coming to their end of life. Those who opt to use the loan for renewables are motivated by financial factors but are also likely to be motivated by the desire to reduce their carbon emissions. Clients reported that it was the interest- free nature of the loans makes them attractive although some would accept a low rather than zero rate of interest if there was a longer repayment period; it is the level of payments that is important to these customers. Renewables are more likely to be installed by more affluent applicants. Application process A large proportion of those who were sent an application form but have not yet applied are still expecting to apply for a home loan. Overall customers are satisfied with their whole experience of the Energy Saving Scotland Home loans service; there is very little evidence of dissatisfied customers. Some applicants felt the application process was slow and it was sometimes unclear to respondents that they should quote the estimated saving from their energy report and they were not required to do the calculation themselves. The large majority of respondents are happy with the advice and support provided by the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland. The difference the loan makes The home loan is helpful and allows people to take more energy saving measures and to implement them sooner than they otherwise would have been able to. Involvement in the scheme also raises awareness of energy efficiency which could result in additional carbon savings over and above those resulting form the installation financed by the loan. In total up to the end of April 2010, 141 loans to the value of 605,517 have been given out to householders for energy efficiency measures through the Energy Saving Scotland home loan scheme. The measures implemented using the loans have resulted in annual savings of 182 tonnes CO 2 and lifetime savings of 3102 tonnes. Lifetime savings of 3054 tonnes were directly produced or facilitated by the loan: customers who installed measures with lifetime savings of 1618 tonnes CO 2 said the loan was crucial to the installation and customers who installed measures with lifetime savings of 1436 tonnes of CO 2 said the loan was some help to the installation. Funding leverage Loans did not necessarily cover all the costs of measures and thus leveraged in investment in sustainable energy measures by applicants. On average a customer invested 1 for every 3 borrowed Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 1

3 Client mix There appear to be two key market segments accessing the loan scheme, whose requirements are different: o o Fuel poor households seeking to improve the basic energy efficiency of their homes. This group is keen to take action and need to improve their dwelling to achieve basic standards or to replace worn out equipment; these measures are often essential. Low repayments and the provision of capital are crucial to this group More affluent households who are keen to install renewable energy measures. This group is more motivated by environmental factors and has more resources available to them. The installation is a discretionary purchase and the loan is less important. Cost effectiveness The headline cost of carbon under the scheme is c.. 42/lifertime tonne CO 2. However, this is artificially high because of a pipeline effect, all the administrative costs for the scheme are attributed to the relatively few loans paid by the time of evaluation. In practice, based on subsequent data on the steady-state cost of processing a loan, this cost drops to 5/tonne. However, it should also be noted that the treatment of Scottish Government capital, as having no costs, is a simplification Further work would be required to estimate costs if commercial capital were to be used. Possible refinements of the scheme Going forwards there may be opportunities to tailor slightly different loan schemes to provide close matches for the different requirements and motivations of the above groups. For example, for affluent, renewable-orientated households options could be considered such as a low interest rate. Alternatively a lower proportion of total costs could be loaned to better off customers, reducing overall scheme costs of carbon. Reconfiguring the scheme so that loans could be paid in advance of invoices from contractors would improve attractiveness, although this would require careful safeguards. Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 2

4 Home Loan Scheme Evaluation detailed findings Loan profile information In total 141 loans to the value of 605,517 have been given out to householders for energy efficiency measures through the Scotland Home Loan scheme. The following table outlines information about the loans claimed for the period up to the end of April 2010, when the evaluation took place: Table 1: Loan amount information Total loan amount Number of loans Average loan Minimum loan Maximum loan Boiler replacement 227, ,882 1,150 9,200 double glazing 52, ,470 3,100 10,000 EAP measure 33, , ,490 Insulation 5, ,747 5,747 5,747 insulation 2, ,499 2,499 2,499 Insulation plus additional 6, ,365 6,365 6,365 radiator 3, ,891 3,891 3,891 Renewable 251, ,858 2,385 10,000 renewable 8, ,275 8,275 8,275 TRV 12, ,011 2,473 3,709 Total 605, , ,000 The value of the average loan is 4,300 with the average loan for renewables being much higher than that for boiler replacement. The 10,000 maximum loan cap was only an issue for those installing renewables or double glazing. EAP measures have the lowest average loan. Leverage The loans did not necessarily cover all the costs of the measure and the table below highlights how this differed by measure: Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 3

5 Table 2: Total costs of installations and proportion covered by the loan scheme Total loan amount Costs not covered by Total costs % covered by loan loan Boiler replacement 227,644 7, , double glazing 52,290 3,928 56, EAP measure 33,621 36,568 70, Insulation 5, , insulation 2, , Insulation plus additional 6, , radiator 3, , Renewable 251, , , renewable 8,275 1,690 9, TRV 12, , Total 605, , , Overall, the loans covered 75% of the total costs of installations. The proportion covered by the loan was lowest among EAP measures and renewable technologies. Loan customer profile Loan database information up to 16 th April showed that: 141 applicants had received payment of the loan 223 applicants had received an offer of a loan but not yet claimed it 3134 had been sent the application form for the loan but not yet sent it back Almost all of those who have not yet claimed the loan intend to do so and many of those who have not yet applied say that they will. Those who have applied for loans are more likely to have received grants in the past for energy efficiency or renewable energy measures than those who have received forms but not applied. All applicants appear to have decided on the measures they want to install before applying for the loan; in many cases they have used advice from the Energy Saving Scotland network to make their decision. Respondents choose the most suitable measures for their homes; often comparing different measures themselves or based on recommendations from advisors, installers or friends. The availability of a loan was rarely a motivation for selecting a measure but instead a means to actually affording the desired measure. Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 4

6 Saving money was the most important motivation for around two thirds of applicants; however a quarter of those applying for loans for renewable energy measures were principally motivated by environmental benefits. While almost all applicants reported themselves as concerned about the environment and climate change, questioning of applicants suggested that they can be characterised in two main groups: Financially better off, more environmentally concerned householders who are installing renewable energy measures (55% of those surveyed that had a household income of more than 50,000 installed renewable energy measures). Less financially well off applicants who want to replace worn out heating systems who are motivated mainly by saving money (74% of those surveyed that had a household income of less than 25,000 installed boilers (including those recommended though EAP)). Satisfaction Overall satisfaction with the Energy Saving Scotland s Home Loans scheme was high. All evaluation respondents who had received payment of the loan were satisfied with the service provided as were 81% of those who have yet to claim it: Figure1: Customer satisfaction levels There was a significant need for support of loan applicants. 54% of respondents who had received a loan had contacted the Energy Saving Trust since receiving the application form; 41% of those needed help to complete the form and 43% wanted to find out about progress of their application. 74% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with how their enquiry was dealt with by the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland. For the dissatisfied minority, dissatisfaction was primarily due to the process being perceived as taking too long (3 respondents) and Energy Saving Trust in Scotland staff being reported as not returning communications promptly (5 respondents). Generally respondents found the loan application straightforward. The areas which were reported as most difficult for respondents were calculating estimated savings and obtaining quotes for measures Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 5

7 they were interested in installing. Respondents often did not realise they just needed to take the estimated savings from the relevant document as detailed on page 9. Influence of the loan The loan scheme seems to be effective in assisting householders to install measures that they have already decided upon faster or to a higher quality than they would otherwise do. Many applicants said that, if the loan had not been available, they would have saved up to install the measure. However, it is likely that in reality some would not have done so; particularly those installing more discretionary measures like renewable energy. Respondents who had claimed their loan and thus installed measures were asked how important the loan was in influencing the action they took. The chart below shows the responses to those who have received the loan: Figure 2: Difference loan made with regards to action taken. The chart shows that for all three categories of improvement the loan had a significant influence on the action taken by those who had received it. The loan was crucial for most of those installing boilers or other energy efficiency measures; it was less important for those installing renewable measures but still helped 90%. Influence on behaviour Respondents who had been offered a loan were also asked whether their behaviour regarding energy efficiency had changed since their involvement with the Energy Saving Scotland home loan scheme. Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 6

8 Figure 3: Behaviour since involvement with Energy Saving Scotland home loans pilot scheme (n=80) Thus it appears that, following involvement with the loans scheme, householders become more aware of energy efficiency in general, more highly motivated and take more action to reduce consumption. Savings The energy efficiency or renewable measure funded by the loan must be recommended in one of the following documents: Energy Performance Certificate (within the home report completed when buying, renting or selling a home); Home energy report (produced on completion of an Energy Saving Trust Home Energy Check (HEC); Home report on renewables and energy efficiency (completed via a home visit from an Energy Saving Scotland home renewables advisor); or Energy Assistance Package (EAP) Stage Four managing agent letter detailing the work recommended. Each of these documents provides a potential saving figure should the measure be installed. These savings figures have been used to provide savings for the loan scheme 1. The evaluation asked loan recipients who installed measures and claimed loans how important the loan was in implementing the measure and whether they felt it had been crucial or some help with the installation. The percentages of attribution from these respondents have then been applied to all the measures for the 141 loans where measures had been installed and paid for. 1 The lifetime savings have been calculated using standard Energy Saving Trust lifetime assumptions Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 7

9 Table 3: Number of measures and associated carbon savings Number of measures for which loans paid 2 % of total measures for which loans paid Annual CO 2 savings (tonnes) % of total annual CO 2 savings Total potential lifetime CO 2 savings (tonnes) Boiler replacement 94 59% % 1,064 Insulation 4 3% % 436 Renewables 33 21% % 1,284 EAP measures 14 9% % 310 Additional measures 13 8% 1.6 1% 8 Total ,102 The majority of loans and respective savings are for replacement boilers and renewables. Table 4: Annual CO 2 savings (tonnes) by type of measure and attribution Crucial Some help No help Boiler replacement Insulation Renewables EAP measures Additional measures Total The numbers in this column add up to more than the number of individual loans as some loans covered more than one measure Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 8

10 Table 5: Lifetime CO 2 savings (tonnes) by type of measure and attribution Crucial Some help No help Boiler replacement Insulation Renewables EAP measures Additional measures Total 1, , % of savings were attributed as enabled and facilitated by the loan scheme, 61% where it was crucial to the savings and 38% where it was of some help. Cost effectiveness The following table shows the key data in terms of cost effectiveness for the programme 3. A decision has to be made on to how to treat costs of loan funds as these do not represent a sunk cost to the programme as they will largely be paid back over time, with the exception of bad debts which are likely to be very low, based on historic data from similar loan programmes. For the purposes of this analysis, no cost of capital is attributed, as it is Scottish Government funding but a 3% bad debt allowance is made. The cost of delivering the programme to is 109,000. The cost of bad debts is 3% of the 605,517 loaned = 18,000 Table 6: Cost effectiveness based on cost of delivering the programme only, including cost of bad debts but excluding cost of loan finance Lifetime savings (tco 2 ) 3,055 Programme delivery 109,000 Bad debts 18,000 Cost effectiveness /lifetime tco 2 (tot 42 If the cost effective calculation is made on the basis of the strongest attribution only, i.e. only for carbon where loan was crucial, this cost-effectiveness drops to 79 /lifetime tonne CO 2 These costs can be compared with costs of carbon under the renewables grant scheme which costs around 44 per lifetime tonne CO 2 saved on the assumption that all carbon savings made are attributed to the grant. However, a more appropriate comparison is for the costs of carbon saved from renewable measures only. Here the figures for carbon saved under the loan scheme are c 24 for all attributed carbon (this estimate is based on 23% of above costs in line with the proportion of loans for renewable 3 Up to end of April 2010 Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 9

11 measures in Table 1). In addition, a further refinement is also necessary, this is a significant overestimate of costs because all the administrative costs for the scheme ( 109K) are attributed to the relatively few loans paid by the time of evaluation. In practice many of these costs were one-offs associated with setting up the scheme or were incurred in processing application requests and loan offers which will turn into loans paid and measures installed but had not by the time of evaluation. This is a pipeline effect and from subsequent practice as the loan scheme has continued in 2010 the steadystate cost of processing a loan is only c 60. This produces a cost of carbon of c 5 per lifetime tonne CO 2. It should also be noted that the treatment of Scottish Government capital as having no costs is a simplification and certainly in any larger scheme utilising funding beyond that which might be supplied by the Scottish Government the cost of capital would have to be factored in and this would raise the cost of carbon. The above is thus a preliminary and indicative analysis only and more work will need to be done to produce final costs. Exploring how the loan scheme can be improved All of those taking up the loan scheme believed that an interest free loan is a good way to help people install energy efficiency measures and 88% stated that if an interest rate was charged it would be less attractive. However, half of these respondents would nevertheless be willing to take on a low interest loan if the repayment period was extended to allow monthly payments to remain low. There are thus some opportunities for moving to a low rather than zero interest offering although this would reduce market size. The current system whereby the Home Loan is only paid to the applicant once the installation is complete and they have paid the installer reduces the attractiveness of the loan for 32% of applicants as they have to finance the initial expenditure. It might be that upfront loans would compensate for a nonzero interest rate, although there would be procedural and legal issues to overcome to allow this. Respondents comments about the measures that they would like to see the loan cover reveal a lack of knowledge in some cases of the full range of measures for which loans were available and this will be addressed in future scheme collateral. Home Loan Scheme Evaluation Executive Summary Page 10

12 Crown Copyright 2010 ISBN: (web only) APS Scotland Group DPPAS11118 (12/10) w w w. s c o t l a n d. g o v. u k

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