How can your business make the most of the Green Homes Grant?

By David Heil | August 14, 2020

The July Summer Statement from the Chancellor brought some much-needed good news for manufacturers, specifiers and contractors in England with the announcement of the £2 billion Green Homes Grant and £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. These energy refurbishment schemes will hopefully provide struggling businesses with a boost but with time short before the Green Homes Grant launches in September, it is important that firms act quickly to take full advantage of this opportunity.  

 

What is the Green Homes Grant? 

The Green Homes Grant is a scheme designed to improve the energy performance of homes in England, providing grants of up to £10,000 towards the cost of certain energy efficiency measures (EEMs). The scheme is open to homeowners, landlords (for domestic properties) and park homeowners 

In most cases owners will be able to receive vouchers for as much as £5,000 covering up to 2/3rds the total cost of work. Homeowners judged to be on low-income can claim up to £10,000 covering 100% the cost of the work (a list of people who qualify under the low-income scheme is provided here). 

To apply, the property owner first visits the new Simple Energy Advice website. From September, this will provide recommendations on the improvements they can make to their home. Once they apply they will be given a list of local TrustMark approved installers to get a quote for the work. Using this quote they can then receive the voucher towards the cost of the work. 

 

What can a Green Homes Grant be used for? 

The improvements available under the scheme are split into two tiers – Primary and Secondary. The Primary measures include installing insulation and fitting low energy generating technologies such as ground and air source heat pumps and solar thermal panels. Secondary measures cover everything from installing double glazing (in single glazed homes) to draught proofing and thermostats.  

Whilst it is possible to apply for funding for several improvements, each application must include at least one Primary measure. In addition, the amount available for Secondary measures is capped at that awarded for the Primary measure.  

It is also important to keep in mind that the Grants cannot be used for replacing existing measures such as old double glazing or insulation. Although it is possible to ‘top up’ some areas – for example if the existing loft insulation is too thin. 

 

When can people apply for a Green Homes Grant? 

The scheme is due to open in September and grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis so it is important to get your business up to speed now. 

 

What should my business be doing to prepare for the Green Homes Grant? 

If you work in a business covered by the scheme, there are a few things you can be doing right away to get the best out of it: 

  • Create a plan: Until recently, information about the scheme has been fairly patchy but clearer details are now available via the government website. Carefully read through this and develop a clear plan highlighting the products and services it will support. The plan should consider, for example, what Primary measures could be introduced if your product is a Secondary measure 
  • Know your audience: The plan should also consider who is likely to be using the scheme. For example, landlords are now required to ensure their properties have an EPC of at least an E before they can let them. As such it makes sense for them to take advantage of the scheme. You should ensure that you are visible in the spaces where your customers are, whether that’s through trade publications, social media or anything in between 
  • Set goals and communicate them across your organisation: The Green Homes Grant scheme is fairly complicated so it is important that all staff understand precisely what it is, how customers can benefit from it and what your targets are as a business over the next few months (whether it be achieving a number of quotes or selling a volume of products).  
  • Be easy to find: make sure you have an active presence across relevant digital and print platforms, that your website is up to date and clearly communicates how customers can benefit from the Green Homes Grant scheme.  
  • Communicate your quality: Keep in mind that this is a short-term scheme and is likely to be highly competitive. It is important to give customers reassurance about your quality as a business. A good way to do this is by ensuring your Google My Business page is complete and up-to-date, including customer reviews. You can read more about this in our handy Google My Business guide. If you are a TrustMark registered installer, make sure you are clearly displaying the logo and that your free listing on the TrustMark business portal properly lists all of your services. 
  • Ensure the information you provide is clear, consistent and accurate: There’s nothing more frustrating than finding information in one place only to have it contradicted in another. Make sure information has a single source of truth within your organisation by appointing a scheme champion and that it is relayed consistently across all platforms. Also make sure that information is accurate and easy to understand so that stakeholders feel confident in what you’re offering. 
  • Remove unnecessary marketing gateways: Work from a position of helping not selling by making information easily accessible and available on demand. Talk about problems and applications above products and services, and avoid spiel full of jargon and buzzwords in favour of clear, concise information. 
  • Bring your offer to life: when you do need or want to focus on a particular product or solution, make sure you are demonstrating real world potential, using case studies that show them in action. 
  • Lead the way: as energy efficiency is given greater priority within the industry and new initiatives come into play within the market, take the opportunity to engage in a wider dialogue about the challenges and opportunities that are arising. As well as helping customers make effective use of the schemes available, consider what more needs to be done and be part of the conversation driving for more comprehensive, longer term strategies. Roundtables, industry commentary through blogs and editorial, and involvement in consultations and trade bodies all offer opportunities for thought leadership, which can both create trust in your business and drive positive change within the industry. 

Laying the groundwork for future growth. 

Whilst the Green Homes Grant is expected to be a short-term scheme, the Government is committed to significantly improving the energy performance of all buildings over the next decade and beyond. By putting in the time and effort now, you can not only help to support your business through these challenging times but also position yourself well for the future schemes which are expected to be introduced across the UK in the next few years. 

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