The Green Homes Grant scheme is a £2billion fund to help homeowners pay for improvements that will reduce demand for energy, such as wall, loft and floor insulation, double glazing and low-carbon heating equipment like heat pumps.
However, since the scheme was announced in September, demand has been extremely high and homeowners have experienced delays in receiving vouchers and booking authorised contractors to carry out the work. As a result, UK homeowners and landlords will be pleased to hear that the deadline for completing the improvements has been extended by a year to March 2022.
Here we’ll look into who can qualify for a Green Homes Grant, the benefits of making your property more eco-friendly, finding a contractor to undertake the work, and how to apply for the scheme.
The Green Industrial Revolution
The grant scheme is part of the Government’s wider initiative – a 10 point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ that aims to help the country build greener and reach the target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The initiative aims to “Make our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, while creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.”
Homeowners and Landlords can get vouchers worth up to £5,000
The scheme is open to both homeowners and landlords and provides two forms of support – a voucher scheme and a Local Authority Delivery scheme that will provide funding for low-income households.
The voucher scheme is non-replayable and covers two-thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements up to a maximum of £5,000. So, for an individual job costing £5,000, the government would pay £3,660 and you would pay the balance of £1,340. You could then complete other qualifying jobs, where your share would be a maximum of £3,640.
Low-income households can receive vouchers up to £10,000 towards qualifying improvements, but will not have to make any contribution to costs. However, you cannot apply for the vouchers if you have had improvements carried out under the Local Authority Delivery Scheme.
The Government has confirmed that the value of the grants will not change with the extension of the scheme.
There are two categories of improvement – primary and secondary. You must complete at least one project from the primary group if you want support for a project from the secondary category.
However, the voucher for the secondary work must not exceed the voucher for the primary work. So, if you receive £2,000 in vouchers for primary work, you could only ask for £2,000 to cover secondary projects.
You can only redeem vouchers for secondary measures once you have installed a primary measure and redeemed the vouchers for that measure.
The vouchers cover a range of insulation measures:
- Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
- Cavity wall insulation
- Under-floor insulation (solid floor, suspended floor)
- Loft insulation
- Flat roof insulation
- Pitched roof insulation
- Room in roof insulation
- Insulating a park home
They also cover low carbon heating measures:
- Air source heat pump
- Ground source heat pump
- Solar thermal (liquid filled flat plate or evacuated tube collector)
- Biomass boiler
- Hybrid heat pump
Vouchers for secondary measures cover measures for draft-proofing windows and doors:
- Draft proofing
- Double or triple glazing (where replacing single glazing)
- Secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
- Energy efficient replacement doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
They also cover heating controls and insulation:
- Hot water tank thermostat
- Hot water tank insulation
- Heating controls (such as, appliance thermostats, smart heating controls, zone controls, intelligent delayed start thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves)
Improving your home value or rental value through energy efficiency
There are numerous benefits to ensuring your property is energy efficient, and one of those is the fact that there is a strong correlation between a stronger efficiency rating and a higher house price.
As you may already know, when selling a property or rental property, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required. This certificate shows a scale rating of A to G which measures the quality of the property’s energy efficiency.
Research from MoneySuperMarket shows that based on average property prices in England, you can improve your home value through energy efficiency. The graph below highlights the price increase as a result of raising your EPC from a G rating through to an A rating, where property value can be as much as 14 per cent higher.
Get an online property valuation to find out how much your home is currently worth.
If you’d like to get an EPC assessment on your property or rental property to see the types of energy efficiency work you could make, give us a call on 0207 099 4000.!!!!
Where the EPC Rating is below E, our Property Management team can make a plan to improve the energy efficiency of the property, with help from our Portico Handyman team.
Related: Minimum Energy Efficiency Laws for Landlords
How will the grant help landlords and tenants?
Using the Green Homes Grant to make improvements to your rental property could not only improve the value of the property, but should save you and your tenants money on your energy bills.
Simply Business recently reported that the grant is also a fantastic opportunity for landlords looking to attract new, quality tenants. Research shows that almost half (42 per cent) of tenants take green credentials into account when searching for a new rental property - so making ‘green’ improvements could help landlords avoid voids and even increase the potential rent.
You can see how much your rental property could currently command in rent with our online rent calculator.
Like homeowners, landlords who want to apply for the grant have until the 31 March 2021 to apply.
Finding a contractor for your project
You must use a contractor approved under the scheme to carry out the qualifying improvements. You cannot do any of the work yourself or use a contractor who is not approved.
Approved contractors must be certified to PAS 2030 and belong to the TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
PAS 2030 is the standard all Green Deal Installers must comply with. PAS 2030 sets out requirements that all installers will follow to ensure that the installation of the energy efficiency measures under Green Deal is completed properly.
PAS 2030 addresses areas including installation controls, equipment, inspections, handover and correct action procedures. All Green Deal Installers have to be certified to PAS 2030 by a Green Deal Certification Body.
Applying for the grant
There are three stages to the process:
- Visit the Simple Energy Advice website. There you can find out if you’re eligible for funding and check on the measures available for your home or rental property.
- Find approved contractors and obtain a quote. You’ll find details of approved contractors in your area on the Simple Energy Advice website, or give Portico contractors a call on 020 7099 4000.
- Apply online for vouchers on the government website. You’ll have to provide details of the improvements you want to carry out, personal details and information on any benefits, a quote from an approved contractor with their Trustmark licence number.
If your application for a grant is successful, you’ll receive a voucher by email – with one voucher for each home improvement you’ve applied for.
When the work is complete and you are satisfied with the results, you can redeem your voucher on the government website.
Progress on the scheme
Since the scheme was announced in September, progress has been slow as Government officials have struggled to cope with more than 42,000 applications. As a result only a few hundred vouchers had been issued by the beginning of November.
Applicants also found problems trying to source an approved contractor within the original timescale of completion by March 2021. !
The extension of the deadline means that contractors can now schedule their work within a more manageable timeframe. However, there may still be delays as other firms, particularly smaller installers, found difficulties in obtaining scheme approval. They felt that the investment was too high given the short timescale available. The situation may improve because of the longer deadlines and the availability of relevant training for certification.
Portico can help
Give us a call on 0207 099 4000 if you have any questions regarding the Green Homes Grant, if you’d like us to arrange an EPC assessment, or if you need any maintenance or renovation work. Portico handymen and tradespeople are reliable and skilled to carry out this sort of work, and are available to Portico clients and non Portico clients.