This Friday (19th March) sees the launch of the first ever eco shops in B&Q’s flagship stores in New Malden and Sutton.
The shop is based around six key actions that everyone can take to reduce their environmental impact and help save money on energy, water and food. Within it there will be DIY products for people to make their own improvements at home, as well as offering a range of installed services including boiler, solid wall and solar thermal water heating installations. From May the company will be offering ‘home eco audits’ to help homeowners understand the measures they can implement to dramatically cut their home’s environmental impact and running costs.
In a further 63 stores B&Q is pulling together all their key energy saving products into one zone at the front of the store meaning people can easily find everything they need to start slashing their energy bills and carbon footprint at home.
Next week (22nd March), B&Q is re-launching its One Planet Home pages on diy.com (www.diy.com/oneplanethome), which will display hundreds of transactional products alongside a wealth of hints and tips, interactive tools and links to useful sites for those wanting to go green at home.
As part of the company’s bid to help people ecovate their homes, B&Q is introducing two new roles - Eco Advisors and Eco Experts.
B&Q’s Eco Advisor qualification – an eco NVQ - is a UK first and will see staff qualified to City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Retail Skills (selling Eco products) standard enabling them to advise and help customers on eco products for their homes. The first eco Advisors will be on hand from Friday at B&Q’s Sutton and New Malden eco shops. The eco advisor role will then be rolled out across the country with 1800 qualified advisers across the country by September.
The second role to be introduced is the B&Q Eco Expert who will be qualified to offer in store and at home consultations and provide homeowners with an Energy Performance Certificate, enabling them to understand how energy efficient their home is. Initially the Eco Experts will work from the New Malden and Sutton stores and will be able to back up their audit findings with recommendations to make energy saving improvements and offer a full range of eco installations.
B&Q has long seen the links and benefits between learning, engaged employees and, ultimately, productivity and has found that, as a result of training staff to the nationally recognised, City and Guilds standard, customers are beginning to shop with more confidence as a result of the advice they are being given by staff and this is vital in an area such as green.
It is inevitable that soon British homeowners will be facing the challenge from the Government to reduce their homes’ environmental impact and with Government targets set at a 30 per cent carbon emissions reduction by 2020 the process can seem quite daunting. Whilst the Government and other bodies work out how they are going to help homeowners to do this, B&Q announces that you can B&Q it through these new customer initiatives specifically designed to make greening up your homes easy and affordable.
B&Q’s Sutton store is also the pioneer store for financing home energy makeovers working with The London Borough of Sutton, Bioregional, DECC and the Energy Saving Trust under a scheme launched last month by the Government.
The Home Energy Pay As You Save pilots gives local Sutton households the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency and micro-generation technologies in their homes with no upfront cost. Householders will make repayments spread over a long enough period so that repayments are lower than their predicted energy bill savings, meaning financial and carbon savings are made from day one.
B&Q carries out a full energy assessment of Sutton homes involved in the trial, to understand where the owners might be able to reduce their energy consumption such as improving levels of insulation, draught proofing and introducing solar hot water. The pilot scheme will then provide the funds in the form of a non-repayable grant and an interest free loan to owners to make these improvements to their homes, which can be repaid over a period of 10 or 25 years.
The Government is putting £4 million forward to fund the trial. A total of around 500 homes across England will take part providing evidence of how to foot the bill for the Great British Refurb – the Government’s plan to make the 22 million existing homes in the UK more energy efficient.
B&Q is on target to have re-fitted 40 homes by mid summer, with another 60 following on before the year end, making it one of the most experienced retailers in the emerging market of large scale energy reduction in the home. As one of Britain’s largest fitters of kitchen and bathrooms this is a logical area for B&Q to explore as a natural extension to its existing installations business.
CEO of B&Q and Kingfisher UK Euan Sutherland said: “B&Q is leading the way in advice and products for greening up your home and living a more sustainable life. Whether it’s a straight forward loft insulation project or a more complex eco-renovation we will have the products, friendly advice and services our customers need to ecovate their homes in the most affordable way.”
For more information please contact Zaria Pinchbeck or Jackie Hoyte at ZPR on 0207 896 3404 or 07802 837 975.