What is it, and how can I apply?
The Government’s Green Homes Grant is a great opportunity to get some financial help towards making your home more energy efficient – but how do you work out if you are eligible and if your home is suitable for any of the improvements? **
Tell me more
The details of the new Green Homes Grant scheme were announced in September 2020 as part of a £2 Billion green jobs package. £1 Billion of this is for home energy improvements, enough for an estimated 600,000 grants .
It is open to homeowners and landlords, who can apply for vouchers towards the cost of energy efficiency improvements.
The vouchers will cover up to two thirds of the cost of the improvements, up to a maximum of £5,000. If you receive certain means tested benefits, you could get a voucher that covers all the costs of your improvements, up to a maximum of £10,000
What can I spend the grant on?
Two categories of improvements have been created. You will be able to apply for a voucher to install one or more of the following ‘primary’ measures:
- Solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, under-floor insulation or roof insulation (including loft, flat roof and room-in-roof) and park home insulation
- Air source heat pump or ground source heat pump
- Solar thermal heating
In addition to one of the above, you can use your voucher for one or more improvement on the ‘secondary measures’ list. The cost of the secondary measure cannot be greater than the cost of the primary measure:
- Draught proofing
- Replacing single glazing with double/triple glazing or installing secondary glazing
- Upgrading doors (installed before 2002) with energy efficient replacements
- Hot water tank insulation
- A range of heating controls – including hot water tank thermostats, thermostatic radiator valves and smart heating controls.
Details on available measures and eligibility for the low income scheme can be found here.
How can I get a grant?
You must apply for a grant from the government website: www.gov.uk/apply-green-homes-grant
Make sure that you read the Terms & Conditions in full – they explain in detail how the process works and what you and your chosen installer need to do.
Finding accredited installers
To qualify for the grant, the Government requires the work is done by tradespeople and businesses that are registered via the Trustmark accreditation scheme. Firms installing low carbon heating improvements also need to be MCS certified. You can click on these Trustmark and MCS links to find accredited installers in our area.
The intention is to ensure a level of quality control on the work done, and avoid cowboy installers. But this has created a bottleneck as there are not many businesses registered with the Trustmark scheme at the moment, certainly not in our area. And those that are have been swamped with enquiries.
Deadline for applications
As originally set out, work needed to be planned and completed by 31 March 2021 in order to qualify. This was proving highly problematic, especially given the shortage of accredited installers. However, this has now been extended so the new deadline is 31 March 2022.
Pros and cons
The scheme has been getting some bad press recently because of these problems. It was put together in a hurry as part of the Government’s post-covid response package, so it is understandable that there may be teething problems
This blog by Tom Bragg, based on a talk he gave at a Horsham Future Forum webinar, sets out more of the details, and describes the pros and cons as follows:
On the plus side, it is free money, a good opportunity to get some extra money to improve your comfort, cut your carbon use and reduce bills, and provide employment and training to the installers. The disadvantages are that there are too few installers, there’s risks of lower quality with a rushed job, possibilities of delay to the work meaning it doesn’t finish by the deadline, some installers might push up their quote amount when they know the work is under the grant, and this idea is largely unknown and untested, and it is still uncertain how effective the scheme will be. Another thing to consider is if you can do the work without the grant, although hopefully more grant schemes will be coming.
** This summary is based on information on the Warmer Sussex website.