Hundreds of thousands of homes across England can benefit this year from a new Green Homes Grant, which offers thousands of pounds for making energy efficiency improvements to your home.
We’ve broken down exactly what this could mean for your home, and how you can get involved.
If you're not in England, see what's available elsewhere in the UK here.
What exactly is a Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grant scheme was announced earlier this year as part of a £2bn government package to improve the green credentials of homes in England.
The government has said it wants around 600,000 homes to benefit from the scheme, which will see them pay for a share of certain home improvement jobs that will make your home more energy efficient.
How much money can I get with a Green Homes Grant?
The scheme will see the government pay for two-thirds of the cost of the work, up to a value of £5,000. So for example, if you had an insulation job that costs £3,000, you would pay £1,000, while the government would give a voucher to cover the other £2,000.
If you’re in receipt of certain benefits, such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit, or Child Tax Credits, you may be entitled to receive a voucher of up to £10,000, which will cover the entire cost of the job.
What kind of home improvements are covered?
Home improvements that are eligible to receive vouchers are split into two types, described as primary and secondary measures.
To receive a voucher, you must undertake one of the primary measures. If you have a primary measure carried out, you will also be able to apply for a voucher for a secondary measure, though the value of this cannot exceed the cost of the primary measure.
What are the primary measures?
The primary measures which form the basis of the scheme fall into two parts - insulation, and low-carbon heating.
Insulation works includes:
- Solid wall
- Cavity wall
- Flat roof
- Room in roof
- Park homes
If your home is already properly insulated, then you will able to apply for a voucher for installing low-carbon heating, which covers:
- Air source heat pump
- Ground source heat pump
- Solar thermal
- Biomass pellet boilers
The vouchers cannot be used to replace insulation or low carbon heating that you already have, though they can be used to top-up insulation that doesn’t meet current standards.
What are the secondary measures?
If you have a primary measure done, you can apply for a secondary measure, which covers a much broader variety of improvements. These include:
- Double or triple glazing
- Secondary glazing
- Energy efficient doors
- Hot water tank thermostats and insulation
- Heating controls such as smart thermostats
As with insulation, you won’t be able to replace existing double glazing under the scheme.
Who can do the work?
Tradespeople must be registered with the government’s TrustMark scheme or with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. All the eligible tradespeople are listed on the government Simple Energy Advice site.
If you post a relevant insulation job on MyBuilder, you will be able to say if you intend for the job to be part of the scheme, so eligible tradespeople can get in touch.
How long do I have to claim a voucher?
The scheme is set to run until the end of March 2021.
Can I get a voucher for work I’ve already done?
No - the voucher will only cover work that is done during the running time of the scheme. But well done for being conscious about your carbon footprint and taking control of your bills!
Is it worth it?
The government estimates that good quality insulation and other measures can help save some homes around £600 a year on their energy bills, so depending on the scale of the work you do, it might not take long to see the savings.
What if I don't live in England?
There are other schemes running elsewhere in the UK.
In Scotland for example, you may qualify for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, if you have lived in your home for more than a year and receive certain benefits or a pension.
The Scottish government will cover the cost of works such as insulation and central heating improvements, or contribute an interest-free loan.
In Wales, there is a similar scheme called NEST that can also provide a range of measures to improve your home’s energy efficiency if you are eligible.
If you live in Northern Ireland, you might be able to make use of a Boiler Replacement Scheme grant, if your household income is below £40,000 a year and your boiler is more than 15 years old.
The Affordable Warmth Scheme is also available for individuals and families on incomes of less than £20,000 a year, with grants of up to £7,500 to make improvements such as insulating your home.
Wherever you live, you should also check with your energy supplier to see what offers they have available.
Under the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme, energy suppliers are obliged to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty, with a range of measures available for eligible customers that can help pay for boiler replacements and insulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I replace my boiler using the Green Homes Grant?
No, boiler replacements are not covered by the Green Homes Grant. However, installing a low carbon heating system, such as a ground source heat pump, is covered as long as the home is already insulated to standard. However, installing a low carbon heating system, such as a ground source heat pump, is covered as long as the home is already insulated to standard. Depending on where you live there may be other schemes that can help you with replacing a boiler.
Can I use a Green Homes Grant to replace my current windows and doors?
Installing thermally efficient doors or replacing single glazed windows with double glazing is covered by the Green Homes Grant as a secondary measure - meaning you will only be able to claim a voucher for these if you are already claiming for a voucher that covers primary work (insulation and low carbon heating). The value of the secondary voucher cannot be more than the value of the primary one. Replacing existing double glazing is not covered.
Can I use the Green Homes Grant to help pay for solar panels?
No, adding electricity-generating solar panels to your home is not covered by the Green Homes Grant, although solar thermal heating systems are included as a primary measure.