The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced plans to fund Green Deal crews to advise the public door-to-door, an initiative designed to boost uptake of the flagship energy efficiency programme

DECC is making £20 million available for local councils until December 2013 to fund so-called Green Deal “communities”, who will advise householders on Green Deal plans.

Authorities that successfully bid for the funding will be able to send groups of assessors out in areas thought to have the most to benefit from the scheme, offering incentives and encouragement to householders to sign up to the Green Deal.

The new approach follows reports that only four households have completed the Green Deal since it started in January.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “If we are going to deliver the Green Deal at real scale then we need a ‘street-by-street’ vision and a ‘street-by-street’ plan. However, local authorities really know their areas best. They know which streets and properties could most benefit from a Green Deal to improve their energy efficiency, and what local people need to provide them with a greater choice.”

Currently the Green Deal requires interested homeowners or businesses to inquire about the scheme themselves. The new approach is designed to encourage people to opt out rather than opt in to the programme.

John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: “It’s encouraging to see government exploring other options to drive uptake of the Green Deal and the £20million Green Deal Communities scheme will help councils identify streets which are most in need of energy efficiency measures.” But he also said additional incentives should be used to reach “millions instead of just hundreds”.

Alongside the funding for local authorities, DECC also confirmed the establishment of the “Green Deal provider forum”. This will offer advice to Green Deal providers with support from the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body and others from the Green Deal community.