✔ You could save £5,000 on energy-saving home improvements
✔ The vouchers are only available in England
✔ You must redeem your voucher by March 31 2022
The Green Homes Grant could save you thousands of pounds in the short term, and hundreds of pounds every year moving forwards.
You’ll also be helping to fight climate change, all while supporting tradespeople during an economic downturn. Just make sure your improvements are finished by March 31 2022.
It’s a win-win for everyone. If you’re up to speed on the details, you can apply here – otherwise, let’s get into it and see how you can benefit.
What’s on this page?
What is the Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grant is a £2bn government initiative that could cover two-thirds of the cost of home improvements designed to cut your energy bills and carbon emissions, up to £5,000.
Households which receive income-based or disability benefits can get 100% of their home improvement costs covered, up to £10,000.
£500 million of the fund has been earmarked for these less well-off homes. This means that at least 50,000 of these households will benefit.
Overall, the government has said it intends to hand out vouchers to help more than 600,000 homeowners pay for these eco-friendly installations.
Considering England has more than 22 million households, that means between 2-3% will receive the grant.
How much can you save?
If you receive income-based or disability benefits, the government will pay for 100% of your green home improvements, up to £10,000.
Those of you who don’t get these benefits can attain a voucher for two-thirds of the cost of your eco-friendly installations, capped at £5,000.
This means you can arrange for home improvements worth up to £7,500, and still have two-thirds of your spending subsidised.
If your installations cost more than £7,500, you can still get a £5,000 voucher – you’ll just pay more yourself.
The table below shows roughly how it’ll pan out for you, depending on which home improvement you choose.
Which home improvements can you get?
You can apply for a Green Homes Grant to get one of the following primary measures:
- Insulation: Solid wall, cavity wall, under-floor, park home, loft or roof insulation
- Ground or air source heat pump
- Solar thermal panels
- Biomass boilers
You can even get another one, but only if it’s from this list of secondary measures:
- Windows: Double glazing or triple glazing (if they’re replacing single glazing), or secondary glazing (only in addition to single glazing)
- Energy efficient doors
- Heat controls: Appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed start thermostats, and thermostatic radiator valves
- Draught proofing
One sneaky catch that the government initially hid in a hyperlinked PDF under “Notes to editors” in its press release is that your secondary measure can’t be subsidised at a higher amount than your primary measure.
So for instance, if the government subsidises £247 of your cavity wall insulation costs, and you’d like to get two double-glazed windows at £1,280, you’ll only qualify for another £247 subsidy.
This works out as a 19% subsidy, compared to the 67% you would expect.
How do you apply?
First, use this government tool to make sure you qualify, work out which home improvements you’re going to get and what they cost, and get quotes from tradespeople.
Your tradespeople must be TrustMark-approved and/or accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
Then simply go to the Green Homes Grant application form, and fill it in.
To apply, you must be a homeowner or landlord, or be applying on behalf of the owner – as long as they’ve given you their permission.
“The Green Homes Grant is a significant investment by the government in energy efficiency, which will provide long term benefits to householders and the environment by cutting fuel bills and reducing carbon emissions.
“It will particularly help low-income households access much-needed funds to make their homes warmer.
“I would really encourage homeowners to apply for the scheme.”
– Energy Saving Trust CEO Mike Thornton
Once you’ve got your voucher, contact one of the tradespeople who gave you a quote, and arrange a price and date for the work to take place.
Let them know that when they come to your home, you’ll be handing them a Green Homes Grant voucher.
You must ensure these improvements are finished by March 31 2022, otherwise the voucher will no longer be redeemable.
Eco Experts asked the Energy Department why the grant was time-limited in such a restrictive fashion.
A spokesperson responded: “The Green Homes Grant will give the economy an immediate boost by supporting tens of thousands of jobs to make over 600,000 homes warmer and cheaper to heat in just six months.
“We have worked with industry to ensure there are enough installers ready to deliver the scheme in a way that work is completed to the highest standards and upholds the UK’s world leading consumer protections.”
When asked whether the government would commit to extending the scheme if a significant proportion of the £2 billion set aside for the Green Homes Grant hadn’t been used by March 31, the spokesperson refused to comment.
So it’s best if you book a tradesperson now, before the torrent of people keen on using their vouchers becomes a flood that stops you from using yours.
How are people responding to the grant?
Unfortunately, the Green Homes Grant hasn’t been well received. In a government survey, 86% of people reported having a poor experience with the process. After checking their eligibility and eventually applying for the grant, many people experienced delays in receiving responses to their applications – leading some quotes to even expire before they could be redeemed.
In fact, whilst the survey was being conducted between 2-16 November 2020, only 5.6% of respondents had received a voucher for energy efficiency measures to be installed.
In response to this, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Minister, Lord Callanan, admitted that only 20,000 vouchers have been issued to homeowners or residential landlords so far (as of 8 February 2021) – a long way off the 600,000-home target.
At the current rate, it would take over 10 years to meet the Government’s target to issue vouchers to 600,000 households.
The government has, however, reassured the public that it is striving to improve its performance.
Why are the grants rolling out slowly?
The scheme’s delay boils down to a shortage of accredited engineers registered with TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality scheme for Green Homes Grant installers.
In November 2020, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) suggested that 1,200 companies had registered with TrustMark, with the number only creeping up to 1,300 two months later – despite the new grant scheme.
To combat this, many MPs are calling for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce a multi-year extension to the scheme in his Budget on 3 March 2021. It’s hopeful that this will give the industry confidence to train more installers and engineers in the coming years.
You should apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher as soon as you can, unless you have every energy-saving measure in the lists above. It can benefit your wallet, the environment, and the economy.
However, despite this generous subsidy, it should be noted that the UK has pledged just £3bn towards its plan for a green economic recovery from COVID-19.
While this is obviously better than nothing, it pales in comparison with similar countries.
For instance, France has promised to spend £18bn to tackle climate change as part of its recovery, including investing in electric bikes and renovating old buildings.
And Germany plans to invest £35bn in areas like renewable energy and electric vehicles.
The UK government could be doing so much more to help the climate – but you should obviously still take advantage of what they have offered.