CLA Housing Adviser Hermione Warmington explains the government's new Green Homes Grant Scheme.
The Government has announced a £2 billion Green Homes Grant which will fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements of over 600,000 homes. The grant is set to open in September when homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for a voucher up to a maximum contribution of £5,000 (or £10,000 for low income households).
With continued pressure on the ‘energy efficiency’ of let residential properties, this grant could provide a significant opportunity for our members to invest in their dwellings. This blog looks at what we know so far…
What ‘home improvements’ are included in the grant?
Home improvements are said to include: wall insulation, floor insulation, roof insulation, air source and ground source heat pumps, solar thermal, double or triple glazing and secondary glazing, energy efficient doors, heating controls and hot water tank thermostats.
Who can carry out these ‘home improvements’?
Tradespeople carrying out the home improvements must be registered for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation to take part in the scheme. This is to give confidence that improvements will be of the highest quality.
How do I apply for a voucher?
Later this month (August), homeowners will be able to access advice and support from the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) service. SEA will suggest appropriate home improvements that homeowners may be able to apply for support in funding.
Households will be offered a list of approved TrustMark and MCS registered tradespeople in their local area to carry out the work. Once the works are agreed, vouchers will start to be issued from the end of September so work can commence.
Can I apply for more than one voucher?
The Government has not answered this but it is hoped so. It would not be logical to limit the numbers of vouchers per landlord given the objective of the grant is to improve the ‘energy efficiency’ of 600,000 properties.
If my tenant is low income, do they qualify for the £10,000 grant?
The wording suggests that this grant is only available to homeowners and landlords, rather than to tenants. Therefore, a tenant on a low income would not enable a ladnlord to access the higher grant.
For years, the Government has been putting increased pressure on residential landlords to improve the ‘energy efficiency’ of their properties without any support or funding and so the introduction of the Green Homes Grant scheme is welcomed. The key to its success lies in sufficient tradespeople signing up and ensuring access to funding is straightforward.
It is promising to see that the Government has included renewable technologies on the list of home improvements. Traditional buildings make up around a quarter of the building stock and were constructed to ‘breathe’, making wall insulation largely unsuitable. The key to improving the carbon impact of these buildings lies in their heating type.
It is also good to see that the issue of quality control is addressed. However, it is important that the process of accreditation does not carry a financial burden or is too onerous, putting off smaller businesses, which is particularly important in rural areas who have fewer tradespeople. Homeowners and landlords must have access to accredited tradespeople for them to be able to access the scheme.
The CLA will continue to watch the progression of the Green Homes Grant scheme closely and will share information with members as and when it is released.
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