So, you may have heard that the Green Homes Grant has been extended to March 2022. Time constraints were one of the key issues with this grant, so we're over the moon its been extended, but what does that mean for you?
Are you wondering how it works? What's the catch? Any alternatives?
This is everything you need to know about the government's Green Homes Grant scheme.
This article was reposted, view the full article here: Green Homes Grant: How It Works, What's The Catch? Alternatives? (housebeautiful.com)
Boris Johnson has extended the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme, offering homeowners in England up to £10,000 to spend on installing energy-efficient and low-carbon home improvements, including insulation and heat pumps, until 31st March 2022.
The £2 billion initiative was set to end in March next year and more than 34,000 homes have applied so far, according to government figures. The extension has been granted in response to complaints that the tight turnaround of six months wasn’t enough time to find a suitable tradesperson and have the work completed.
'This year-long extension will allow homeowners more time to book a reputable tradesperson,' says Mike Fairman, CEO of online trade comparison site Checkatrade. 'However this doesn’t solve the skills gap which has been prohibiting thousands of homeowners from taking up the grants. Put simply, there still aren't enough trained and qualified tradespeople to carry out the work.'
Critics have also pointed out that the scheme is daunting and confusing. Without hands-on expert advice, how can we know which energy measures are the most suitable and cost-efficient for our homes?
Builder and TV presenter Craig Phillips (60 Minute Makeover, Housecall, Craig's Trade Trips), who is fronting an energy-efficiency campaign through Homebase's new in-store Green Aisle, says you should always make insulation your top priority: 'This includes solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. You’d be surprised how much energy and heat is lost through poor insulation – especially now that we've moved into the winter months and have the heating on.'
Who is eligible? As a general rule, you qualify if you own your home or are a residential landlord. There is a useful online eligibility test at Simply Energy Advice.
How much will I get? Most applicants will be able to claim up to £5,000 to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of a number of energy-efficient measures (see below). So if you opt for cavity wall insulation costing £3,000, you’ll pay only £1,000, with the government contributing £2,000. Low-income households receiving certain benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit or Disability Living Allowance can claim up to £10,000, to cover the entire cost of the work done. If the cost of the measures you wish to install exceeds the grant amount, you’ll be expected to make up the shortfall yourself. You may be able to source extra funding from a complementary low-carbon heating funding scheme. See 'other schemes' below, and the Energy Saving Trust has further details. Can I get a new boiler? No, gas and other fossil fuel boilers are not included. The scheme aims to promote renewable forms of energy.
How does it work? First pick at least one 'primary' improvement under the headings of insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft and roof, and/or low-carbon heating, including air-source, ground-source and hybrid heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers. See the full list at gov.uk.
If you install any of the above, you are also allowed to select one or more 'secondary' measure. This could be draught-proofing, double, triple or secondary glazing (not replacement double glazing), energy-efficient doors (must replace single-glazed or solid doors installed before 2002), heating controls and hot water tank insulation.
You should get at least three quotes from certified installers – again this may take time – then use one quote for each measure to apply for the grant funding.
If you would prefer to minimise contact during national lockdown restrictions, you can ask installers to provide a quote remotely using a video call or detailed photos. How do I find a certified installer?
There’s a 'find an installer' function on the government website. But when the scheme launched, people took to social media and consumer groups to complain that in many areas, it was impossible to track down an installer close to home. Results were coming back showing companies more than 100 miles away from the applicant.
However, the government says that along with extending the timeframe, it has made improvements to the search facility and is adding new companies every day. Also, a spokesperson points out that sometimes a search will bring up the head office of a company at some distance which has a local branch in your area. What’s the timescale?
Vouchers are valid for three months from the date they are issued or until 31st March 2022, whichever is sooner. You will now be able to request an extension if you can’t use your voucher in time for reasons beyond your control.
You may still find a long wait for your preferred certified tradesperson to start work; they must be government-registered and bear TrustMark quality assurance. Plus, for renewable energy improvements such as air source heat pumps, installers are required to hold membership of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
What’s the catch?
You can't apply for funding for secondary measures until your first measures have been completed.
Also, the amount you get towards the cost of secondary measures cannot exceed what you're given for primary measures. So if you’ve received £500 for underfloor insulation, you’ll only get £500 towards secondary glazing. Other schemes: how it works with other funding
You cannot claim a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of a measure which has also had funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). You can claim both ECO and the Green Homes Grant provided they are each for different measures – for example loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.
You can claim both the Domestic RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) and the Green Home Grant for a renewable heat installation. You must claim the Green Home Grant voucher first and then notify Ofgem that you have used it when you apply for accreditation to the Domestic RHI. The Green Homes Grant will then be deducted from your Domestic RHI payments.
And the alternatives?
'There are of course other ways to make your home energy efficient, especially during the winter months, such as making a DIY draught excluder and bleeding your radiators,' says Craig Phillips. 'Managing your energy use with a smart meter will help too, not only for the efficiency of your home but towards a lower carbon future for Britain.'
View the full article here: Green Homes Grant: How It Works, What's The Catch? Alternatives? (housebeautiful.com)