What is the £5,000 Green Homes Grant voucher?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- December 2020
Making your home more eco-friendly just got easier thanks to the government’s new £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme. Homeowners can apply for a government-funded energy voucher to help save on the cost of improving their property’s green credentials.
Launched at the end of September, this £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme will only last until the end of March 2022. You’ll need to complete any work funded by the voucher by the end of March 2022.
The scheme allows homeowners in England to claim up to £5,000 or in some cases up to £10,000 in energy-saving vouchers in a bid to insulate and heat their properties more sustainably.
As you might expect, a list of terms and conditions apply to the Green Homes Grant. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you decide if your eligible and what you can use the voucher to fund.
Why is the Green Homes Grant being introduced?
As the government look for ways to meet their net carbon zero goals by 2050, an element that they are willing to invest in is to make properties more eco-friendly. A bonus of this scheme is that it should create ten of thousands of jobs in the green economy.
The central aim of the Green Homes Grant scheme is to promote energy efficiency. These vouchers should cover the majority, if not, all of the cost.
How much are the vouchers worth?
As with other government grants, the majority of homeowner will still have to pay some of the cost. When he announced the Green Homes Grant scheme, Rishi Sunak said that the vouchers will cover at least two-thirds of the cost up to a maximum of £5,000 per household.
For example, if you wanted to increase the insulation in your attic. It would normally cost £4,000. Under the scheme, the government would contribute £2,680 toward the cost and you would only need to pay £1,320.
However, if you’re a low-income household in receipt of certain benefits, the maximum amount is doubled. Under the scheme, the government will fund the full cost of the work up to £10,000.
By the government estimates, the Green Homes Grant vouchers should save homeowners an average of £600 a year on energy bills.
What can I spend the grant money on?
You can spend the vouchers on several energy-saving features. However, to receive a grant, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’ll be installing a feature that falls under the category of either insulation or low-carbon heating. The scheme calls these primary measures.
- solid wall
- cavity wall
- flat roof
- room in roof
- air source heat pump
- ground source heat pump
- solar thermal (liquid-filled flat plate or evacuated tube collectors)
- biomass boilers
To install low-carbon heating, you first need to ensure your house is properly insulated with either cavity or solid wall insulation, and loft insulation, if required. Should your home require any of these, then you could have them installed as part of the package.
What can’t the grant money be spent on?
As the grant can only be used for installing new measures, you can’t use the money to replace existing insulation or low-carbon heating. That said, if your current insulation is insufficient, then you can use the money to increase it to the recommended level.
As a green energy scheme, you can not use the grant to install a new fossil fuel boiler (such as gas, oil, or LPG). You also can’t use the money to insulate a room that doesn’t have fixed heating installed such as a conservatory or orangery.
Can I also receive a voucher toward secondary measures?
Installing one of the primary measures listed above also means you could qualify for a voucher to the same amount to put towards secondary measures such as:
- double/triple glazing (only if replacing single glazed windows)
- secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
- external energy-efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
- heating controls
- hot water tank thermostats and insulation
However, the total value of the secondary measure cannot exceed the value of the primary measure.
For example, you could spend £2,000 (part-funded by the scheme) on insulating your attic and a further £2,000 on new double glazing doors. But you couldn’t spend £3,000 on new doors as this figure exceeds the cost of the primary measure.
Who eligible for the Green Homes Grant?
Sadly, only homeowners in England are eligible as the local governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not participating in the scheme.
That said, the scheme is open to all homeowners in England and includes private and social landlords. However, Landlords do not qualify to receive the low-income booster, so are limited to a total value of up to £5,000. Also, the scheme excluded New builds that haven’t yet been occupied.
Can I hire anyone to complete the work?
To ensure high standards and value for money, you’re required to get at least three quotes from different suppliers. You can only hire tradespeople who are either TrustMark approved or registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
The government has compiled a list of recommended and accredited suppliers on the Simple Energy Advice website, which you can view when applying for a Green Homes Grant.
Can I apply now?
As the Green Homes Grant scheme has been open since the end of September 2020, homeowners can apply and get started on improving their home.
To apply, you need to fill out an application form on the Simple Energy Advice website. You can use this website to find what energy-efficiency improvements can be made to your home that is covered by the scheme.
The website also will calculate how much you’re entitled to and will show you a list of the participating suppliers in your area are.
If you don’t have internet access, you can still apply either via post or over the phone.
Do I have to use the voucher within a set time?
Once you’ve received a Green Homes Grant vouchers, it is only valid for 3 months from the issue date or until 31 March 2022. You, therefore, must redeem it before the end date.
Homeowners can request an extension for circumstances outside of their control but any change in time length is at the government’s discretion.