A new £2 billion ‘Green Homes Grant’ scheme could see eligible homeowners claim up to £5,000 to help pay for energy efficient home improvements.
The scheme, unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July, won’t be available until September, but further details of how it will work have been announced. Here’s what we know so far.
What is the Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grant will provide at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household. For example, if you were having cavity wall and floor insulation fitted at a cost of £4,000, you’d only have to pay £1,320 and the government would pay the remaining £2,680.
For those on the lowest incomes, the scheme will fully fund energy efficiency measures of up to £10,000 per household, so these homeowners won’t be required to contribute at all. To qualify for a grant up to £10,000, homeowners need to be receiving at least one of the following benefits.
- Income based Jobseekers allowance (JSA)
- Income based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support (IS)
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credits
- Universal Credit
- Disability Living allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance allowance
- Carer’s allowance
- Severe Disablement allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Contribution-based Jobseekers allowance
- Contribution-based Employment & Support allowance
- Housing benefit
Why has it been introduced?
The aim of the grants is to help homeowners make their properties more energy efficient, so that they’ll use less energy and be warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. It is hoped that the scheme will allow over 600,000 homes across England to be upgraded.
As well as the benefits for homeowners and landlords, the scheme has been set up to support over 100,000 green jobs and help strengthen a supply chain that will be vital if the government is to meet its target of ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Net-zero means that wherever possible fossil fuels will no longer be used, and every tonne of CO2 emitted is matched by a tonne that is removed from the atmosphere.
Which home improvements will the grants cover?
TThe improvements covered by the grant have been split into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ measures, and you must install one of the primary measures if you want to get funding for any secondary measures.
The primary measures are:
- Insulation: including solid wall, cavity wall, under-floor, loft, flat roof, room in roof insulation
- Low carbon heat: including installing an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump, or solar thermal systems (where your home has, or is going to have, wall and loft insulation installed).
The secondary measures are:
- Draught proofing
- Windows and doors: Double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazing), secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing), upgrading to energy efficient doors (where replacing doors installed prior to 2002).
- Heating controls and insulation: appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed start thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves.
The secondary measures listed above can only be subsidised up to the amount that you received for primary measures. For example, if you received £2,000 towards the cost of under-floor insulation, you can only claim a maximum of £2,000 to put towards any secondary measures, such as installing double glazed windows.
Find out more here.
Can I claim the grant anywhere in the UK?
No, unfortunately it’s only available to homeowners living in England, so if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you won’t be able to apply. However, there may be other financial support you’re eligible for to help you make your home more energy efficient. Find out more about the grants and loans that might be available to you here.
How do I claim the grant?
You’ll be able to apply for a grant online from September via the Simplenergyadvice.org.uk website. Accredited suppliers who are able to do the work for you will be listed on the site and you’ll need to obtain a quote from one of these for the work you need doing which must be approved before a voucher can be issued. The government has yet to publish details on how this approvals process will work.
What are the benefits of making my home more energy efficient?
Making your property more energy efficient not only makes it warmer in winter months, but it will reduce your impact on the environment and can also have significant financial benefits.
According to the Chancellor, the scheme could help save people £300 a year on their energy bills. You don’t have to wait until the scheme is introduced to start exploring ways to make your property more energy efficient. For example, quick tips such as using low energy light bulbs, turning electrical devices off (rather than on standby) and using less water in the kettle each time can all add up to big savings. You can find out other ways to be more energy efficient in our article Save money on your energy bills.
How else can I save money on my energy bills?
Making sure you’re on the most competitive energy tariff possible can also help you reduce your energy bills. Energy regulator Ofgem says that savings can be as much as £305 for someone switching from a typical default standard variable tariff to a cheaper tariff.
The best tariff for you will depend on where you live and on how much energy you use. The three big decisions you will need to consider are price, customer service and your impact on the environment. You can use our energy switching service to compare providers and see how much you could save, as well as seeing the customer service ratings for the suppliers listed.
You can also search for ‘green’ only tariffs, if you are happy to pay a bit more but want to minimise your environmental footprint. There are two types of green tariff, those with 100% renewable electricity and those with both 100% renewal electricity and 100% carbon offset gas which typically cost a little more.