What is the Green Homes Grant Scheme?
Homeowners in England could receive vouchers to cover two-thirds of the cost of energy-saving home improvements under a new government scheme.
The government has announced a new £2 billion scheme to help homeowners in England fund the cost of energy-saving upgrades to their homes.
Households can apply for vouchers to cover two-thirds of the cost of materials and installation on energy-saving measures up to the value of £5,000 (or £10,000 for some of those on low incomes) per household.
It’s believed the new incentive will benefit up to 600,000 homes in England.
Applications are already being accepted for the scheme which launched in September 2020. Here’s what you need to know.
What does the scheme provide?
For most homeowners and landlords, energy saving vouchers will pay for at least two-thirds of approved energy-saving measures up to the value of £5,000.
For example, if you wanted to install insulation in your home costing £3,000, you would pay just £1,000, with the government providing a voucher for the remaining £2,000.
Those on low incomes who meet certain criteria could receive up to £10,000 to cover the full cost of improvements.
What improvements are covered?
The government’s list of energy saving improvements which are covered by the incentive are split in to two categories – primary and secondary.
This is important because properties must invest in at least one new primary measure in order to receive funding for any secondary or “top up” improvements.
A “top up” is when the household adds to an installation that has already been made in the past. For instance, extending under-floor insulation to parts of rooms that weren’t insulated before. It doesn’t cover the cost of a replacement to something that has already been installed.
Furthermore, the amount the government contributes towards your top-up or secondary measure will only be equal to their contribution to your primary measure.
For instance, if you receive £1,000 toward installing loft insulation as your primary improvement, you will only be eligible for a maximum of £1,000 for your chosen top-up or secondary measure, even if it ends up being more expensive.
Plus, since the whole scheme is capped at £5,000 (or £10,000 for some low-income applicants), if your primary and secondary or top-up improvements add up to, say, £10,000, the government will only offer you the maximum £5,000, meaning you’ll have to pay the remaining £5,000 yourself.
The government has made it clear which improvements fall under the primary and secondary categories:
· Insulation: including solid wall, cavity wall, under-floor, loft, flat roof, room in roof and park home insulation.
· Low carbon heating: including air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal heating systems. (You’ll need to have sufficient wall insulation to qualify for low carbon heating.)
· Draught proofing
· Windows and doors: replacing single glazing with double or triple glazing, installing secondary glazing in addition to single glazing, upgrading to energy efficient doors.
· Heating controls and insulation: installing appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed start thermostats or thermostatic radiator valves.
Both homeowners and landlords are eligible for the £5,000 grant, however new build domestic properties and non-domestic properties are not.
Long-leaseholders and those in shared ownership properties can also apply for the scheme, but should remember that they may need permission before making any lasting changes to the property.
The Green Homes Grant scheme only applies to England, so won’t cover homes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Eligibility for the low-income scheme
Those on low incomes could be eligible to have the full cost of their energy-saving improvements covered, up to a value of £10,000.
To qualify for the low-income scheme, you must receive 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 (WTC)
· Child Tax Credits (CTC)
· Universal Credit (UC)
· Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
· Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
· Attendance Allowance
· Carer’s Allowance
· Severe Disablement Allowance
· Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
· Contribution based Jobseekers allowance (JSA)
· Contribution based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
· Housing benefit
Only owner-occupied properties and park homes are eligible for the low-income scheme.
How to apply
To apply for the scheme you will need to give details of the improvements you want to make, and get an approved quote from a local TrustMark registered or MCS certified supplier.
Once your work has been approved, the government will issue your voucher to spend.
Eligible homeowners will be able to apply for the Green Homes Grant from September 2020 via the Simply Energy Advice (SEA) website.