Mixed emotions about the new Green Homes Grant

This morning the government has released more details regarding the Green Homes Grant. In essence:

  • The scheme applies only in England
  • The fund is £2 billion and is expected to assist up to 600,000 homeowners.
  • Consumers can claim vouchers worth up to £5,000 (66% funding) and £10,000 (100% funding) for low income households.

The available measures are split into “primary” and “secondary” categories and households will need to install at least one of the primary measures  found in the table below in order to qualify for funding. As long as there is at least one primary measure in the package of works, households will also be able to install secondary measures. Secondary measures can only be subsidised up to the amount of subsidy provided for primary measures. (e.g. if a household receives £1,000 for primary measures, they can only receive a maximum of £1,000 towards secondary measures).

Primary Measures

Secondary Measures

  • Insulation
    • solid wall,
    • cavity wall,
    • under-floor,
    • loft,
    • flat roof,
    • room in roof,
  • Low carbon heat
    • park home,
    • air source heat pump,
    • ground source heat pump,
    • solar thermal
  • Draught proofing
  • Windows and Doors
    • double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazing),
    • secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing),
    • upgrading to energy efficient doors (where replacing doors installed prior to 2002)
  • Heating controls and insulation
    • appliance thermostats,
    • hot water tank thermostats,
    • hot water tank insulation,
    • smart heating controls,
    • zone controls,
    • delayed start thermostat,
    • thermostatic radiator valves

For low-carbon heating to be installed, households will need to have adequate insulation (e.g. wall and loft, where applicable). These can be installed as part of a package – they do not have to already be in situ.

    Eligibility for the scheme

    The following properties are eligible for the Green Homes Grant:

    • All owner-occupied homes (including long-leaseholders, shared ownership)
    • Landlords of private rented sector domestic properties
    • Landlords of social sector domestic properties (including LA owned homes)
    • Park home owners (for residential sites including Gypsy and Traveller sites)

    All installations must also be undertaken by a TrustMark approved Installer

    A missed opportunity?

    So many initiatives in the energy efficiency sector have been blighted by the wrong measures going into the wrong properties resulting in missed opportunities, and at worst, homes that are poorly ventilated leading to damp; if we are not careful this could happen again. The Bonfield Review, and more recently PAS 2035, addressed this with their whole house retrofit concept which would ensure that the needs of the home (the building and the occupier) were considered before creating a design which maximised the energy efficiency potential. All with the aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    Elmhurst appreciate that this is very early days for PAS 2035 and there is not yet the volume of accredited Retrofit Assessors and Retrofit Coordinators to deliver this volume of installation but we did lobby for its phased introduction giving the industry time to establish itself.

    In the absence of PAS 2035 we lobbied for an EPC on each property as a minimum. An EPC defines the most appropriate measure for the home and it gives the homeowner the opportunity to understand the features of the home and those that can be improved to best effect using the skills of an independent expert. We also argued that a post install EPC would help government understand the value, in terms of carbon emissions, that they have delivered from the Green Homes Grant. Again another missed opportunity.

    That being said Elmhurst believe that there is still an opportunity for Energy Assessors. Tucked away at the end of the announcement is a commitment to spend £500 million of the £2 billion via local authorities through the Green Home Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme. Local authorities will be able to bid for funding to support low-income homes that currently live in homes with an EPC rating of E, F or G.

    Elmhurst’s Managing Martyn Reed commented “We welcome the fact that Government have linked the Local Authority Delivery scheme to an EPC. We are still recommending that homeowners consult their local Elmhurst Member for advice. An EPC will help the homeowner understand their home, the measures that might be suitable and an estimate of the savings they can achieve. We welcome the investment from government but we don’t want to repeat the mistake of previous years nor miss the opportunity to achieve zero carbon. The government's focus on low energy homes for the Local Authority Delivery scheme is evidence that they appreciate the value of EPCs and it is just a shame that this was not extended to the core scheme ”  

    For more details see the Government website and the Green Homes Grant https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quality-assurance-at-heart-of-new-2-billion-green-homes-grants

    For details of the Green Home Grant Local Authority delivery https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/green-homes-grant-local-authority-delivery-scheme-entering-a-bid

    Published: 04/08/20

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