Who is eligible for the Green Home improvement scheme and how can I apply?

30 September 2020, 12:13 | Updated: 6 October 2020, 16:50

Homeowners can apply for a grant to make their homes more energy efficient
Homeowners can apply for a grant to make their homes more energy efficient. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Government has announced a new grant for households for people to make their homes cosier - and in turn more energy efficient.

Thanks to the Green Homes Grant scheme, homeowners will be able to apply for vouchers of up to £5,000 and £10,000 to cover the costs of a selection of home improvements.

Ministers said the scheme would help households save up to £600 a year on their energy bills, as well as cut carbon emissions from buildings and support 100,000 jobs in local trades across the UK.

The works permitted to be covered in the scheme will range from insulating walls, floors and roofs, installing double or triple glazing in place of single glazing and putting in low carbon heating such as heat pumps.

600,000 vouchers will be made available across the UK, but how can you take advantage of the scheme?

Am I eligible?

Anyone applying for the scheme must be homeowner, and can get up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the cost of the improvements.

People who hold long leases and shared ownership are also included, although some different terms apply.

New build homes which have never been lived in before are not eligible.

Homeowners with low incomes will be eligible for grants up to £10,000 covering the full cost of the works.

However, landlords will only be allowed to apply for the £5,000 grant.

You also cannot use the voucher to pay for works which started prior to the scheme.

How do I apply?

Go on the  Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website to check what energy efficiency or low carbon heat improvements you can make to your home.

You can then use the same website to find businesses in your area that can do the work and get a quote.

Homeowners are advised to get at least three quotes before applying for the vouchers.

From the end of September, you can apply for the grant on the Government website.

Extensions will not be included in the scheme
Extensions will not be included in the scheme. Picture: PA

Do I need to pay it back?

No, you won't.

The money is a grant, and the workers and installers will instead receive the money directly from the government.

However, all works must be completed by 31 March 2021 or the voucher will expire.

What works are covered under the scheme?

You must install at least one "primary measure". These are split into either insulation measures or carbon heat measures.

You cannot use the scheme to replace already existing measures such as these in your home.

Insulation measures

Solid wall
Under floor
Cavity wall
Loft
Flat roof
Room in roof
Insulating a park home

Carbon heat measures
Air or ground source heat pump
Solar thermal (liquid filled flat plate or evacuated tube collectors)
Biomass boilers

Once you have installed at least one primary measure, you can then install a secondary measure, including:

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

Why has the Government brought this in?

Of the £2 billion funding for the scheme, £500 million will go to local authorities to provide green home improvements for those on low incomes.

The green homes grant forms part of a wider buildings upgrade package, which also includes £1 billion to boost the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

And proposals published by the Government aim to improve the energy efficiency of rented homes by requiring landlords to reach an energy performance certificate (EPC) C rating for properties by 2028.

The Government said the move could save nearly three million homes an average of £220 a year on their annual bills and lift 900,000 households out of fuel poverty.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Our plan to upgrade the nation's buildings and help build back better is good news for jobs, the environment and people's back pockets, as we reduce emissions and help cut energy bills.

"I urge everyone to visit the Green Home Grants website to see how they can make the most of this fantastic scheme."

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