If you own a home in England you can now apply for a Green Home Grant to reduce the cost of making your home more environmentally friendly. Anyone planning to apply should be prepared for delays, however.
A survey by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has found that 62% of homeowners are interested, which has “sparked fears that the scheme will be overwhelmed”, says Melissa Lawford in The Daily Telegraph.
The grants are issued in the form of vouchers covering two thirds of the cost of a range of home improvements. The maximum voucher is £5,000 unless you, or someone in your home, receives certain benefits (including income support and universal credit), in which case the maximum value is £10,000.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
The government is set to issue around 600,000 vouchers worth a total of £2bn. As it is a grant you need never pay the money back, but you must complete the work by 31 March 2021 when the vouchers expire.
The vouchers can be used to part-pay for a variety of measures to make your house greener. These include cavity wall insulation; loft insulation; underfloor insulation; air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps; solar thermal heating and biomass pellet boilers. These are known as the primary measures. So, if you want to install a biomass pellet boiler that costs £7,500 you would get a Green Home Grant for £5,000 and only pay £2,500 yourself.
If you undertake one of these primary jobs, then you can also use the grant for a secondary project such as draught proofing; triple glazing; energy-efficient replacement doors; secondary glazing; hot-water tank insulation; thermostats and heating controls.
“The subsidy for the secondary measure is capped at the value of the grant provided for the primary one,” says Lawford. You can’t use the vouchers to replace work already carried out,but you can use them to top up green measures – adding to your insulation, for example.
When you apply you require a quote from a Green Homes Grant-registered installer. “If the price seems unreasonably high, the scheme administrator may request that you provide another quote,” says Miles Brignall in The Guardian.
Remember, in order to qualify for a grant, you must own a home in England. Landlords can apply, as can anyone with a long leasehold or shared ownership. What’s the best job to get done? Opt for the air-source heat pump, according to Brignall. “This typically costs £10,000-£12,000. Households can use the £5,000 voucher... with the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive payments – combined with the potential savings on your energy bill this could cover the full cost of the new system.”
So what should you watch out for? With so much interest in the scheme, the criminals are on to it too. Conmen are already “sending emails claiming to be about the scheme and using a bogus weblink to steal personal data. Homeowners have also reported being cold-called [and texted] by people claiming to be offering insulation as part of the scheme”. If you want to apply for a Green Home Grant you can find a certified installer via simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/installer-search.
Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.
Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.
Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.
How to invest in solving the housing shortage
Feature Buy-to-let may be losing its shine but there are other ways to invest in the property market
By Marc Shoffman Published
Financial Conduct Authority launches £600k campaign to encourage savers to switch – how much more could you earn?
News The City watchdog wants to encourage more people to switch their savings
By Marc Shoffman Published
What pension providers don't tell you about your retirement money
Check the small print from your pension provider or risk losing thousands.
By Merryn Somerset Webb Published
Britain’s stifling tax burden
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement will see the tax burden rise in each of the next 5 years.
By Emily Hohler Published
Brace for a year of tax rises
The government is strapped for cash, so prepare for tax rises. But it’s unlikely to be able to squeeze much more out of us.
By Matthew Lynn Published
Lock in high yields on savings, before they disappear
As interest rates peak, time to lock in high yields on your savings, while they are still available.
By Ruth Jackson-Kirby Published
How to cut the cost of home insurance
Home insurance policies are becoming increasingly expensive, but there are several ways you can keep costs down.
By Ruth Jackson-Kirby Published
Are lifestyle funds still fit for purpose?
Lifestyle funds have failed to do what they were supposed to do – shield savers from risk in the run-up to retirement.
By David Prosser Published
Act now to bag NatWest-owned Ulster Bank's 5.2% easy access savings account
Ulster Bank is offering savers the chance to earn 5.2% on their cash savings, but you need to act fast as easy access rates are falling. We have all the details
By Marc Shoffman Last updated
Moneybox raises market-leading cash ISA to 5%
Savings and investing app MoneyBox has boosted the rate on its cash ISA again, hiking it from 4.75% to 5% making it one of top rates. We have all the details.
By Ruth Emery Published