The Green Homes Grant Scheme – Comprehensive Consumer Guide

The Green Homes Grant is back!

In early July 2020, the UK Government announced another raft of funding to kick-off in September 2020, to help fund energy saving improvements to UK homes and public sector buildings. The £2billion scheme will fund domestic, social housing and other public buildings installing measures such as loft insulation, new boilers and double glazed windows.

This brand new scheme should be very popular with UK homeowners and promises to be administered in a similar fashion to the previously successful Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. In this announcement, support has been given to insulation, low carbon heating and other secondary measures like glazing and heating controls. If a householder is in a position to take advantage of all the offers (i.e. Solid wall insulation, with multiple measures from the other list and also be in fuel poverty), they can get up to £10,000 towards the cost of the works. Otherwise the grant will be capped at £5,000 per property.

In this article we will provide our own unique view on what measures will give you the best financial return.

We have been involved with previous Government funded schemes such as the Green Deal (in the early 2010’s), and over the years we have followed and closely examined changes to these incentives. In addition, we have also undertaken 10,000s of Energy Assessments and home retrofit surveys ovee the years so are fairly confident we can highlight how you can best benefit from the new Green Homes Grant scheme.

How is the Green Homes Grant different to other recently delivered schemes?

There are some fundamental differences in the make-up of the Green Homes Grant scheme and other previously delivered schemes. Differences explored below:

  1. The scheme has distinguished the difference between primary and secondary energy improvement measures, with secondary measures being eligible for funding if a primary measure is also being installed.
  2. The primary measures consist of insulation and low carbon heating only. In previous schemes all energy efficiency measures were given an equal weighting for the application of the grant.
  3. No room for fan-assisted storage heaters or replacement warm air units in this scheme. 
  4. Glazing, whether this is secondary or double (replacing single glazing) is only a secondary measure.
  5. The funding earmarked to this scheme at £2billion is much more comprehensive in value to any other scheme funded before.
  6. There is an additional £500m earmarked towards Social Housing Landlords and Local Authorities. 

Who qualifies for the Green Homes Grant Scheme?

If you are a home owner in the UK you qualify for the improvements offered under this scheme. This includes leaseholders, park home owners and shared ownership owners. Private and Social Landlords also qualify for improvements, but would not qualify for the “low income top-up” as part of this scheme. 

Also if a separate grant is received via the Local Authority Delivery Scheme (LADS), then property improvers would not qualify for a separate Green Deal Homes voucher.

What sort of measures does the Green Homes Grant allow me to install?

The scheme is split into primary and secondary measures, where the improver must undertake at least one primary measure before adding on a secondary measure. The full list of primary and secondary measures are listed below: 

Primary measures

According to the Government Website, the voucher must be used to install at least 1 primary measure. This can be an insulation measure and/or a low carbon heating measure.

Insulation measures
The following insulation measures are covered by the voucher:

  • solid wall
  • under floor
  • cavity wall
  • loft
  • flat roof
  • room in roof
  • insulating a park home

The following low carbon heating measures are covered by the voucher:

  • air or ground source heat pump
  • solar thermal (liquid filled flat plate or evacuated tube collectors)
  • biomass boilers

Note: you cannot use the voucher to install insulation to replace existing insulation or to replace a low carbon heating source that was already in situ. 

You can however use the voucher to top-up existing insulation. For example, if you have 50mm loft insulation, you can use the voucher to top-up the insulation to 300mm. 

Secondary measures

You must install at least one measure above and then the voucher can be used to help cover the cost of any of the following secondary measures:

  • draught proofing
  • double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazed windows)
  • secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
  • external energy efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
  • heating controls
  • hot water tank thermostats and insulation

The amount allocated towards the cost of the secondary measures cannot exceed the amount you receive for primary measures.

What happens if I am claiming other grants and subsidies – Am I still eligible?

If you have claimed the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), then you can still apply for the Green Homes Grant provided it is to fund a different measure. For example, you may have had funding under ECO for loft insulation but you want to use the Green Homes Grant for solid wall insulation. In this case this is absolutely fine as you have decided to install a primary measure. You can still use the left over grant to install another primary or secondary measure.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Green Homes Grant can still be used in conjunction with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is a 7 year, quarterly paid subsidy to the improver for installing a low carbon heating measure listed above. If using the Green Homes Grant to install heat pump, you must when you are accrediting your system inform OFGEM that the voucher had been used, so they can deduct the payments off your RHI subsidy.

The Green Homes Grant can still be used if you have a low heating source in situ, but must be used towards a primary measure like improving the insulation levels.

Other eligibility criteria for the Green Homes Grant scheme

This voucher scheme currently only applies to England. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, if you are looking for grants for energy saving measures, then best to speak to your local authority for more information.

New-build properties that have not previously been occupied are not eligible for the scheme.

The deadline set to use the voucher is by March 2021 – our opinion is that setting 6 months to spend the voucher when there will be a turn in the weather will not be good to deliver external wall insulation. This measure is so weather dependant.

Scenarios where a Green Homes Grant cannot be used

If you are building a new extension or building a loft extension then you cannot use the Green Homes Grant towards any of these measures.

You can however use the voucher towards improving the insulation of the existing elements of your property, such as installing external wall insulation or floor insulation. 

Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

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