Green Homes Grant

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Green Homes Grant

On 18 Nov 2020, Boris Johnson rolled out the new Ten Point Plan, where he stated that the Green Homes Grant would be extended for a period of one year. 

The grant, which was expected to end on 31 March 2021, is now to end on 31 March 2022. 

The English government established the green homes grant as a form of financial help for homeowners to renovate their homes and make them more energy-efficient. 

Each homeowner and landlord qualified for this grant can get a voucher worth up to £10,000 with this scheme.

During a briefing by Sunak, it’s announced that the purpose of the scheme is to encourage homes in England to be more energy-efficient and create local jobs. 

He said that when the grant started, it would pay for two-thirds of the installation cost of an eligible system.

While households will receive two-thirds of the total cost of renovations to go energy-efficient, an exception is made to this. 

Households with low income can receive the total cost of renovation, giving that the installation cost of the system doesn’t exceed £10,000.

What Is Covered by the Green Homes Grant?

The government has released the complete list of what is covered by the green homes grant, and virtually all energy-saving improvements are included in the list. 

However, the renovations come in two categories: primary and secondary measures.

The government has urged suppliers of the eligible improvements to sign up for MCS or TrustMark accreditation to qualify for installing the scheme.

Primary Measures/renovations

The projects covered under the primary renovations include:

  • Solar thermal
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Hybrid heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Biomass boilers

Any home with any of the above improvements can apply for the Green Homes Grant. However, this comes with certain obligations:

The work must be completed after the commencement of the scheme. 

This means that any project that falls under the listed projects but installed before establishing the scheme is not eligible for the grant. 

However, you may benefit from the scheme by upgrading your existing installations, such as changing your old windows to new ones.

Other projects under primary innovations include insulation of underfloor, cavity walls, and solid walls.

Secondary Renovations

You’re qualified for this grant with a secondary renovation if you’re carrying out any of these upgrades:

  • Upgrading to double glazing
  • Upgrading to draught-proof windows
  • Upgrading to triple glazing
  • Heating controls
  • Upgrading to secondary glazing
  • Upgrading to draught-proof doors (replacing doors installed before 2002)
  • Installing a hot water tank or smart meters for heating

Note: It’s worth mentioning that the cost of any of the upgrades must not exceed the cost of primary renovation.

According to Treasury’s estimate, with these measures, homes can save up to £300 on their energy bills through this grant.

Qualified homeowners can apply for the grant online to get a redeemable voucher, which can be used with accredited partners. 

What Is Not Covered by the Scheme?

Different home improvements are included under the green homes grants. 

However, since the scheme aims to prompt homes to become more energy-efficient, any renovation that is not in phase with the aim of the scheme is not qualified for a voucher.

Here are renovations that are not qualified for the green homes grant:

  • A renovation carried out before a voucher was issued
  • Any renovation that doesn’t contribute to the improvement of a home’s energy efficiency
  • Constructing an extension to your home
  • Boiler repair or replacement
  • Insulation of a conservatory or extension with no fixed heating installed

Note that only thermal panels and not solar panels are eligible for the grant.

Eligibility Requirements for the Green Homes Grant

Before you can consider your home qualified for the grant, you and your home must meet certain requirements, which include:

  • The home must be located in England.
  • The energy-improvement renovation must take place by 31 March 2022.
  • You must be an owner or a social/private landlord of the home (if you’re a landlord of the home, you don’t have access to the low-income benefit of the grant).
  • The green homes grant doesn’t apply for homes that have not yet been occupied. 

Eligibility requirements for the Low-Income Portion of the Scheme

The low-income part of the grant is to help homes with low income. 

This comes with two major benefits: the government pays up to 100% of the renovation cost (up to £10,000), and the home is not required to pay any deposit for the renovation before having access to a voucher.

Surrey County Council has also pledged its support to top-up the benefits of the green homes grant. However, this only goes to certain customers based on their circumstances. 

The funding also has up to £10,000 to pay for every eligible Surrey home. 

However, the council hasn’t announced whether it’d extend its support beyond 31 March 2021.

The support can cover up to 100% of the total cost of a renovation not exceeding £15,000,

One major requirement that qualifies you for the low-income part of the scheme is to be on certain benefits, which are listed on the government’s website.

What If I Enjoy Another Grant?

While some grants don’t restrict you from having access to the green homes grant, you do not qualify for this grant if you’re benefiting from certain grants. 

You’re not eligible for the green homes grant if you have received a Local Authority Delivery scheme grant. 

If you’ve received a grant under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) with the same renovation, you’re not allowed to apply for the green homes grant with the same renovation.

An example is a home that has received a grant under ECO for draught-proof doors. 

Such a home cannot use the voucher again for draught-proofing its door but can use it for draught-proofing its windows.

If you’ve received the Renewable Heating Incentive for the same project, you’re not qualified to apply for the green homes grant. 

On the other way round, if you first received the green homes grant, you’ll have to notify Ofgem of the grant so they can deduct the amount received for the green homes grant from your full RHI, meaning that you don’t enjoy the full benefits of the two grants.

What If I Reside Outside England?

The green homes grant is only for those who reside in England. 

If you reside outside England, you have to consider other grants available for your country as you’re not eligible for this particular grant.

Other green-energy grants for those in the UK but outside England to consider include:

  • Renewable Heating Incentive
  • Smart Export Guarantee for solar panels

How to Apply For the Green Homes Grant

The first step to take to apply for the green homes grant is to get a quote for the renovation you want on your home. 

It’s worth noting that this quote must be from an MCS or TrustMark accredited installer. 

This installer will check your home and recommend a befitting and eligible renovation for it. It’s ideal to get quotes from multiple installers to get the best offer.

Details you’ll have to supply when applying include:

  • Your personal information as the owner
  • Personal information of the occupants, especially those receiving benefits
  • A quote from an MCS or TrustMark accredited installer
  • Your installer’s TrustMark license number

Note: If your installer isn’t TrustMark or MCS certified, he can carry out the installation through a subcontractor. The government announced this to make the grant more accessible.

The green homes grant team will go through your information and the quote you submitted. 

If any piece of the information is inappropriate, the team will call your attention to it, especially about your quote. 

When your quotes are unreasonably high, the team will not approve them. 

However, if any of your quotes is fair, the team will choose it. This measure is to ensure fair pricing amongst applicants. 

If you have multiple projects to install, there’s no need to apply separately. 

You can submit quotes for each of the projects in one application, and when your application is granted, you’ll be given separate vouchers for each project.

One mistake you should avoid is embarking on the project when the voucher has not yet been approved. 

Starting the project already before the voucher is approved deprives you of access to redeem the voucher. 

If you plan on having the grant for a secondary renovation, you’re to complete the primary renovation and process the grant for it first before applying for the grant for the secondary renovation. 

How to Ensure the Voucher Is Redeemable

To ensure that you can redeem the voucher, ensure you complete the project before the scheme comes to an end on 31 March 2022.

When the voucher is issued, you’re expected to complete the work within three months as the voucher only has three months to expire. 

This doesn’t mean that a voucher can exceed 31 March 20222, even if it’s issued a week earlier.

Once you’ve completed the work, you can redeem the voucher by providing the following information to the team:

  • Evidence of completion of the project before 31 March 2022
  • Necessary documents provided by the installer, including a copy of the invoice
  • Proof of payment of your part of the installation, except in the case of the low-income part of the scheme
  • Proof of meeting the eligibility requirements of the scheme

Once you redeem the voucher, the remaining cost of the installation is paid to your installer, after when you have outright ownership of the project and can fully enjoy your new green energy home improvement.

Aims of the Grant

The green homes grant’s major aim is to relieve the UK from the impact of the COVID-19 by providing homes with a grant that saves money, cuts back carbon, and provides more jobs.

Though the scheme’s initial budget was £3 billion, Mr Sunak has promised an additional £1bn for the public sector. 

According to Boris Johnson, the scheme is expected to gain more money from the government in the future.

With the initial £4 billion, 650,000 homes in England will become more energy-efficient and save money on energy bills, while the renovations will help cut back UK’s carbon emission. 

This decrease in carbon emission will have an equivalent value to taking 270,00 cars off the England road, merge with the benefit of creating around 140,000 green jobs.

This scheme will encourage homes to become more energy efficient with the low cost of installation through a £5,000 voucher.

More Verdicts about Green Homes Grant

The grant may not cover the total cost of the installation. 

An example is a homeowner who plans to install a cavity wall and floor insulation that cost £4,000. 

While the scheme is meant to provide financial assistance to the homeowner, he still needs to pay a portion of the total installation cost (£1,320) while the government pays the remaining £2,680.

However, if your household falls under the low-income category and you’re on certain benefits, you can have the total cost of the installation covered by the government, giving that this total cost doesn’t exceed £10,000.  

The Challenges Faced With the Grant

One common challenge faced with applying for the green homes grant is the hassle of finding an installer.

Since everyone wants to enjoy the benefits of the green homes grant, virtually all qualified installers in England have been booked. 

This makes it difficult for new applicants of the scheme to find qualified installers.

According to a survey on Twitter by Martin (with 1 million followers), it’s revealed that applicants interested in the scheme faced the challenge of employing an installer for their projects. 

When asked if they’d applied or planning to apply for the grant, 84% of those who partook in the survey narrated their ordeal of being unable to find a suitable installer.

Also, people’s complaints include the inefficiency of the government’s ‘find me an installer’ tool.

While the tool is to help find qualified installers around, it searches for installers hundreds of miles away, making it difficult for applicants to find a nearby installer.

However, the government has empowered more qualified installers to increase the existing number. 

Also, the ‘find me an installer’ tool has been upgraded that it now finds installers within a 30-mile radius.