How to make your home greener with a government grant

Cut the cost of making your house more environmentally friendly with a Green Home Grant.

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. 

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.

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