Since Chancellor Rishi Sunak first announced his plan (back in July 2020) to put aside £2 billion for green home upgrades, in a bid to promote energy efficiency and help boost our suffering economy following the Covid-19 lockdown, we have heard little about the details. However, it has now been announced that September 2020 will host the launch of the much-anticipated Green Homes Grant initiative and it appears that the scheme is not quite as straightforward to utilise as first thought. We take a closer at what has been clarified so far…
What is the Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grantwill provide homeowners the opportunity to make certain energy-efficient improvements to their home. The proposal is that the government will cover up to two-thirds of the cost of an energy efficiency grant up to the value of £5k (10K for low income families). The grants will be provided in the form of vouchers and utilising them will also help homeowners to save money long-term on their annual energy bills. The scheme is part of a wider £3 billion plan to cut carbon emissions as well as stimulating the economy and helping individuals. You can apply for the grant from September 2020 up until March 2021.
Sounds simple right? Well, unfortunately it isn’t quite as simple as deciding to get some new double-glazing, calling a supplier, and being presented with an invoice for a third of the total cost.
How does the Green Homes Grant work and what home improvements are covered by the vouchers?
In order to obtain a voucher, you will need to make an online application (when the scheme opens in September) via the Simple Energy Advice website, detailing the energy-efficiency measures you wish complete inyour home.
How does the green homes grant work?
The energy-efficiency measures are split into two categories, primary and secondary. Homeowners must install at least one measure from the primary category in order to qualify for the vouchers.
Energy-efficiency measures in the primary category consists of:
(such as solid wall, cavity wall, loft, flat roof, or under-floor insulation). You can get top-up insulation (for example if you don’t already have the recommended amount) but, the vouchers are not valid for replacing existing insulation or low-carbon heating.
- Air source and ground force heat pumps.
- Solar panels.
PROVIDING THAT YOU APPLY FOR AT LEAST ONE MEASURE FROM THE PRIMARY CATEGORY, YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO CLAIM A GRANT FOR SECONDARY MEASURES WHICH COMPRISES:
- Double glazing or triple glazing
(only when it is replacing single glazing).
- Energy efficient doors
(only when replacing doors installed prior to 2002).
- Draught proofing.
- Heating controls and insulation
(such as thermostats and smart heating controls).
Gas boilers are not on the list of home improvements covered by the scheme.
Vouchers for secondary measures will be capped at the same amount provided in relation to the primary measures (for example, if you claim £1,500 for insulation, then you will receive a maximum of £1,500 for double glazing).
Your secondary measure claim cannot exceed your primary measure claim.
Will I be eligible for the energy-saving vouchers?
Firstly, for the general scheme, the following properties in England are eligible England (homes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will not be covered by the grant):
- All owner-occupied homes (including long-leaseholders, shared ownership).
- Landlords of private rented sector domestic properties.
- Landlords of social sector domestic properties.
- Park homeowners (for residential sites).
New-build domestic properties and non-domestic properties are not eligible.
For those who are not classed as being on a low income, the vouchers will be worth up to a maximum of £5,000 and can only cover two thirds of the total cost.
For those on a low income, the vouchers are worth up to £10,000 and can cover 100% of the total cost.
How do I apply for a Green Homes Grant?
Applications for the Green Homes Grant Scheme will open in via the Simple Energy Advice website and while there is no official start date, the government has confirmed that the initiative will only be available for six months – until the end of March 2021. It is unclear at the moment, if this will be the end of the scheme in its entirety i.e. will applications made prior to the deadline be implemented after the closing date? We are unsure. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the Simple Energy website over the coming weeks as more information is published.
In summary, the Green Homes Grant will launch in September and you will not be able to apply until then. You will only be able to apply for a secondary measure grant if you have applied and completed at least one measure from the primary list of improvements. You’ll need to act quickly – you only have 6 months to apply for primary and secondary works and carry them out – it is a very tight deadline especially when taking lead times into account (our lead time here at Wandsworth Sash Windows for example, is 3 months which is fairly standard in our industry). Keep an eye on the Simple Energy Advice website for all the information you will need if you are looking to apply.