Rishi Sunak announced a new £2billion scheme last month to help make Britain’s homes more energy efficient. The Green Homes Grant begins in September, so we thought we’d share what we know about the scheme and bring you up to date with all the details...of which there are many!
Let’s dive straight in...
What is the Green Homes Grant scheme?
The Green Homes Grant scheme is a UK Government initiative aimed at homeowners and landlords looking to upgrade their properties' energy efficiency.
Which home improvements are eligible for a Green Homes Grant?
There are a number of home improvements that fall under the Green Homes Grant umbrella, and they fall into two categories: Primary and secondary measures.
- solid wall, under-floor, cavity wall or roof insulation
- air source or ground source heat pumps
- solar thermal
- Double glazing, triple glazing, and secondary glazing (only when replacing single glazing)
- Upgrading doors to energy efficient alternatives (only when replacing doors fitted prior to 2002)
- Draught proofing
- Hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats/heating controls, as well as thermostatic radiator valves, smart heating controls, or zone controls
How does the Green Homes Grant scheme work?
By this point, you’re probably wondering why there are two different categories. In short, the home improvements listed as secondary measures can only be applied for if you have also carried out improvements listed under the primary measures label. You can’t just apply for a grant for double glazing, for example.
How much can you claim?
While many of the headlines state that there is £10k up for grabs, this is only for those deemed to be on low income. For everyone else, the figure is actually capped at £5,000.
There’s further nuance to the deal, too. Those on low income will not have to contribute anything towards work covered by the Green Homes Grant, while those who fall outside of the required low income threshold will have to cover a third of the costs.
For example, insulation fitted at a cost of £3k means the government pays £2,010 and the homeowner £990, which is a pretty solid deal. The grant will be issued by way of vouchers and they will only be redeemable with accredited contractors.
The final thing to remember is that you will only be able to claim secondary measure cost up to the amount spent on primary home improvements. So you won’t be able to get £500 worth of insulation and subsequently claim £3,000 for double glazing, as it’ll be capped at the amount spent on the primary measure.
Who is entitled to Green Homes Grant vouchers?
If you are based in England and you’re an owner occupier or a private or social landlord, you can apply. This includes long leaseholders, park homeowners, and those living in shared ownership properties.
The small print is a little vague, however. For example, new-build domestic properties and all non-domestic properties will not be covered by the scheme, but what defines ‘new build’ in this instance isn’t 100% clear at present.
Another thing to bear in mind is that if you are a leaseholder or have a share of freehold you will need to obtain permission from either the freeholder or those with whom you share the freehold.
Should you take advantage of the scheme?
If you are eligible and can cover your end of the costs, taking advantage of the Green Homes Grant is a no-brainer. Not only will you be able to lower your energy bills going forward, your property will also be more attractive to buyers when the time comes to sell and move on. An improved EPC rating is something we should all strive for.
You’ll also potentially be helping the economy along the way with the creation of more ‘green jobs’ as a result of your upgrades, so you can feel good about that while enjoying cheaper energy bills at the same time.
Can you upgrade existing insulation or double glazing?
Unfortunately not. The fine print dictates that the Green Homes Grant isn’t going to cover property that already has existing insulation or double glazing, only those without insulation or single glazed windows.
You can, however, add extra insulation if your home isn’t currently sitting at the recommended level. These ‘top-ups’ will be covered by the Green Homes Grant, but replacements won’t be.
How to apply for a Green Homes Grant
Applications for a Green Homes Grant should be made online via the Simple Energy Advice website. Here you will be able to get personalised recommendations for home improvements that will then allow you to go ahead and get quotes for the required work. From there, vouchers will be issued to those deemed eligible.
The service will be up and running in September 2020. The exact date at which voucher distribution will begin is not yet known, but the first vouchers are expected to be issued towards the end of September 2020.
Which contractor should you use?
To obtain a Green Homes Grant, you will have to use an accredited contractor for any work carried out. All companies used must be TrustMark registered or MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified.
Providing your contractor of choice is accredited by one of these two governing bodies, you will be able to use them as part of the Green Homes Grant scheme to carry out the work you require.
Finding an accredited supplier
Much like our own accreditation with the likes of ARLA Propertymark, SAFEagent, NAEA Propertymark, The Property Ombudsman, Trading Standards Approved Code, and The National Approved Letting Scheme, contractors will be proud of their association with TrustMark or MCS, so they shouldn’t be too difficult find. The Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website will also have a list of local contractors you can use who meet the scheme’s criteria.
If, however, you live in or around Wanstead, East London, and would like a more personalised recommendation, we’d happily put you in touch with one of our trusted, reliable contractors. As we’ve been serving the E11 community for well over 100 years, we’ve built up an extensive list of contacts and would be delighted to point you in the right direction.
What should I do if you’ve recently ordered an eligible home improvement?
This is something of a grey area at present. Should you cancel your order and rebook? Or will you be covered by the Green Homes Grant anyway?
The nitty-gritty still needs to be ironed out at the time of writing, so the best thing to do would be to contact your contractor and discuss it with them. Alternatively, keep an eye on the government’s website and reputable news channels for further updates as and when they are released.
When does the Green Homes Grant scheme end?
The Green Homes Grant will only be available for a limited six month period and will end in March 2021.
Further advice and guidance