In September, the Government launched their new £2 billion scheme to encourage homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. The Green Homes Grant has now been extended to the end of March 2022 following the popularity of the scheme, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to benefit from it.
What is it?
The aim of the initiative is to boost energy efficiency in private residences by funding up to two-thirds of energy saving home improvements in England. The funding is given in the form of vouchers, and the vouchers must be redeemed, and sustainable improvements made, by 31st March 2022.
What Improvements are Included?
There are numerous energy-saving home improvements you can install under the green homes grant, which are split into two categories - primary and secondary measures. To benefit from the vouchers, you will need to demonstrate that you will be using them to establish at least one of the primary measures, before you can apply for any of the improvements under the secondary measures label.
Primary measures can be narrowed down into two basic categories - ‘insulation’, and ‘low-carbon heating’. These include:
· Solid wall insulation
· Under-floor insulation
· Cavity wall Insulation
· Loft insulation
· Roof insulation
· Air source heat pump
· Ground source heat pump
· Solar thermal
· Biomass boilers
Secondary measures include:
· Double, triple, or secondary glazing (only when replacing single glazing)
· Draught proofing
· Energy efficient external doors (only when replacing single glazed or solid doors fitted prior to 2002)
· Hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats, heating controls and insulation.
· Heating controls including thermostatic radiator valves, smart heating controls or zone controls.
It is important to note that your home will need to be properly insulated with either solid or cavity wall insulation, and if applicable, loft insulation, before you have any low-carbon heating installed. If you don’t have the necessary insultation, then this can be installed as part of the deal. Additionally, if you would like to take advantage of a secondary measure then the cost of this cannot exceed the value of the primary measure. For example, you couldn’t claim for £1000 worth of insulation (primary measure), and then subsequently request £2000 for glazing (secondary measure), it would be capped at the value claimed for the primary measure.
How much can I claim?
For the majority of people, the grant will cover at least two-thirds of the cost which is capped at £5000 per household. However, for low-income households who receive certain types of benefits the cost could be covered in full for works up to £10,000. The government has claimed that the vouchers could potentially save homeowners £600 per year on energy bills. Improvements in the energy efficiency of your home, will lead to an improved EPC rating, making your home more attractive to buyers if you ever look to sell.
Who’s eligible for the vouchers?
The green homes grant is open to homeowners in England. This includes residential landlords in both the private and social sector, park-home owners, long-leaseholders, and shared ownership properties. However, landlords can only qualify for a voucher up to the cap of £5000 regardless of household income, and if you are a leaseholder or have a share of a freehold, permission is needed from all freeholders.
The scheme unfortunately does not extend to those living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Nor does it apply to new build homes that have not yet been occupied.
You can check your eligibility on the government’s website.
Who can carry out the work?
You will have to use someone accredited under the green homes grant to carry out any works – all companies registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or approved by TrustMark should be accredited to do any works to meet the standards of the scheme. You can find a suitable installer on the Simple Energy Advice website.
How do the vouchers work?
Although you only need one quote for each measure to apply for the voucher, you are advised to get at least three per installation, to ensure you are getting the best value for money, as the scheme administrator can deny an application if they deem the cost to be unreasonably high.
You will receive a separate voucher for each measure that you have applied for which will be valid for 3 months (or the date the scheme ends if this is earlier), although an extension can be applied for at any time. Each voucher is only valid for the named property and applicant, and can only be redeemed against the installation it was intended for.
Once you receive your voucher you can then instruct your installer to begin work. Once the work is complete your installer must give you the following:
· A dated invoice (per measure)
· Any certification of energy efficiency improvements
· A guarantee document for the works
· If you’ve installed low carbon heating – a MCS certificate and relevant manufacturer instructions
· If you’ve installed a biomass fuelled system – a Biomass suppliers list
You will then be able to redeem your voucher. You will need to provide proof that the installation was completed to a satisfactory standard, you have received the necessary documents listed above from the installer, and that you have paid your share of the costs to the installer (if applicable). The rest of the money will then be paid on your behalf directly to the installer.
How do I apply?
You can apply via the Simple Energy Advice website where you will find all the necessary informaiton.
In September 2020 the UK Government proposed to increase the minimum energy efficiency standards on the private rented sector by 2025 to an EPC band C or higher. So, if you are a landlord, it may be a good idea to look into the Green Homes Grant and get some money towards improving your rental’s energy efficiency before you have too.