I want a warmer, greener home: where do I start?
Here’s some of the basics, with links to where you can find out more.
Starting with the basics
The Energy Saving Trust website is a great place to start for learning the basics. They have sections on:
- Reducing home heat loss – explaining the options for improving you insulation, dealing with leaky windows & doors, and draught proofing
- Heating your home – with info on heating and hot water, boilers, and thermostats & controls
- Generating renewable energy – covering solar PV, solar hot water, and other small-scale renewable options
- Buying energy efficient products – dealing with appliances and low energy lighting
Greening Steyning is planning on writing a series of more detailed articles over the coming months providing advice on specific aspects of home energy improvement. Keep an eye on this page for details.
Making a plan
You’ll want to get the greatest bang for your energy saving buck. So it makes sense to be strategic in making your home energy plan, and ask
- How energy efficient am I now?
- Where are my biggest energy losses occurring?
- What can I do that would be easy and cheap?
- What are the bigger steps I should be thinking about?
- How much will it all cost and should I tackle it in phases?
If you need help, there is a clever online tool that will do part of the job for you – the Warmer Sussex Plan Builder.
This is able to tap into the national EPC database so when you put in your address it can provide data on how energy efficiency your property is now. You say what your priorities are – cutting emissions, reducing bills, or both. Then you set your budget. Using these details, the Plan Builder calculates what improvements can be made according to your budget and priorities, and shows you how they influence your estimated fuel bills and the CO2 emissions saved.
Can I get a grant?
Green Homes Grant (RIP)
The Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme was launched in September 2020 and provided grants of up to £5000 for certain types of energy improvements, or up to £10,000 if you are receiving means tested benefits. It ran into trouble, however, due to bottlenecks in finding accredited installers who could navigate the paperwork and do the work done on time. The scheme was withdrawn in March 2021, with the vast majority of the budget unspent. This article explains what went wrong.
Warmer Homes Local Authority Delivery Scheme
Residents in Horsham District with household incomes below £30,000 p.a. are eligible to apply for a new grant scheme. It’s called the Warmer Homes Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Scheme and covers 100% of the cost of certain home energy improvements up to a maximum of £10,000. This is twice the limit of the earlier Green Homes grant.
You can find out more about the scheme here. We’ll be adding more info about it to the website shortly, but it could be particularly useful for pensioners and other homeowners living on modest incomes who’d like to make their homes cosier and cut their energy bills. But you’ll need to get your skates on. The current round of funding ends in September.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Another grant you may be eligible for is the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. This covers a range of renewable heating technologies – heat pumps, solar hot water systems, and biomass boilers – and provides payments over 7 years to offset the initial installation cost. The scheme is due to end in March 2022, so you’ll need to get your skates on if you’re to take advantage of it. You can find out more here.
New £5000 Grant Scheme
In October 2021, initial details were announced of a new grant scheme to replace the RHI. From April 2022, grants of up to £5000 will be available to subsidise the cost of replacing gas boilers with heat pumps. Details are still sketchy, but according to the Money Saving Expert website if will operate on a first come, first served basis with the Government offering payments for 30,000 heat pumps every year for three years. Most homeowners and landlords will be able to participate in the scheme. The grant won’t, however, be available to those in social housing and new-build properties. The £5,000 is unlikely to cover all installation costs and you’re expected to foot the bill for the balance. But the advantage over the RHI scheme is that you will get the money up front rather than in installments.
We’ll be posting more information on how to apply once they’re made public.
Where next from here?
If you’re ready to start looking for firms to contact, or need some professional help, here’s some suggestions.