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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.