From September of 2020, a new incentive labelled the Green Homes Grant Scheme will be made available to homeowners and landlords seeking to adopt more sustainable measures within their properties. The scheme is part of the wider effort for economic recovery, and will work hand-in-hand with the government’s continued emphasis on improving the UK’s capacity for sustainability.
With governments and communities around the world focusing more attention than ever before on the ways in which we lead our lives – and the issues we cannot afford to ignore any longer – now represents the perfect moment to instate significant change through a green recovery.
Read more about the scheme – and how it can help you to implement greener, more sustainable, and more affordable measures within your home – below.
What is Green Recovery?
As you know, the coronavirus has caused significant disruption to homes and businesses around the world, with massive losses of income and revenue threatening to undermine entire countries. The UK officially entered its first recession in over a decade this month, and efforts to turn the tide and improve not only the economy, but the lives of millions, are beginning to focus on implementing lasting measures across the country.
One of the most troubling insights gained from the widespread lockdowns of early 2020 was the extent to which our everyday lives impacts the climate. CO2 emissions fell sharply, and while the effect was short lived – and is already rapidly disappearing – it also further solidified our need to change the ways in which we live and work, and to protect the planet from a devastating conclusion.
As a result, the government’s efforts for economic recovery seek to concentrate on bolstering the renewable energy sector, which will create a multitude of job opportunities, and ensure that widespread change is facilitated to greater effect over the coming years.
A green recovery certainly offers the most positive solution to the damage wrought by the coronavirus. In France and Germany, for instance, are also making considerable investments into ensuring that the sustainability sector spearheads the move toward a safer and more sustainable future. The combined value of their schemes sits just under £40 billion.
How Will the Grant Help Property Owners to Support the Green Recovery?
Homeowners, landlords, and park homeowners are all entitled to receive this grant for a number of green improvements. In most cases, you will be entitled to claim two thirds of the cost of implementing any of these measures, up to the value of £5,000.
If you are receiving income or disability benefits, then this value increases to £10,000, and can offer up to 100% of the costs of installation for both primary and secondary measures.
This will serve to make sustainability a much more viable prospect for property owners, particularly as the UK works to mitigate the impact of the recession.
What is Available Through the Scheme?
More so than ever before, the UK government is investing a wealth of resources, time, and money into creating and reinforcing incentives for climate control, lower
The government have created two categories for the measures available to property owners: primary and secondary. You will not be eligible to receive vouchers for any secondary measures until you have implemented a primary measure within your property.
The primary measures focus on energy-efficient insulation, and low CO2 heating systems. This includes solid wall, cavity wall, roof, loft and underfloor insulation, and funding can be put toward either the cost of installation, or ‘topping up’ existing measures. It cannot, however, be used to fund full replacements.
Lower carbon heating measures include solar thermal and ground- or air-source heat pumps (GSHP and ASHP).
Secondary measures include a number of energy-efficient options for windows and doors, and a range of better heating controls, up to the value of the grant provided for the primary measures:
- Upgrading from single glazing to double or triple glazing
- Upgrading from single glazing to secondary glazing, which is particularly beneficial to listed homes.
- Installing energy efficient doors to replace any doors installed before 2002
- Appliance thermostats
- Hot water tank thermostats
- Hot water tank insulation
- Smart heating controls
- Zone controls
- Delayed start thermostat
- Thermostatic radiator valves
What is Solar Thermal?
The EPC — or Energy Performance Certificate — is a grading system (A-G) used to offer homebuyers and tenants insight into the running costs of a dwelling. It is
As the name suggests, solar thermal offers a system for heating your water supply using solar panels, which enables you to drastically reduce household bills, CO2 emissions and energy usage year-round. While your existing immersion heater will remain active in order to bring the water up to the exact temperature you require, this usage can fall as low as 10% -- particularly in the summer months.
In 2017, it was estimated that just over 30% of CO2 emissions from domestic properties in the UK stemmed from heating systems. What’s more, with the average annual UK electricity bill rising from £722 to £837 between 2016-2019 (15%), the opportunity to power your home’s heating system from a free and unlimited source – and to lessen your reliance on your energy supplier – is more valuable than ever before.
Solar thermal can also be used in combination with a photovoltaic solar installation, although this system is not yet available through the Green Homes Grant, in order to cut your household energy bills further still, and to minimise your carbon footprint.
Do I Qualify for Solar Thermal with the Green Homes Grant?
In order to qualify, property owners will need to work with approved UK construction companies with full MCS accreditation. This offers a significant level of assurance to both the government and the owner that the work will yield the greatest benefit to your property, and last long into the future.
There are some restrictions. For instance, low carbon heating must be used in conjunction with suitable insulation. This is not a prerequisite for applying, however; property owners can choose to have both measures implemented in conjunction with one another.
If you qualify for additional support through income support or disability benefits, then you will need to provide sufficient documentation.
Similarly, at this time, the RHI (Renewable Heat Inventive) will not be made available to those who implement a solar thermal installation the Green Homes Grant.
How Can I Apply for the Green Homes Grant?
The grant will be opened to the public in September this year, and Simple Energy Advice will release further details about submitting your application for the grant in the coming weeks.
In order to get started, you will need to receive a quote for the work to be completed, from an accepted provider. If you choose to implement a solar thermal system within your property, then Atlantic Renewables can provide you with a free solar survey, which will detail the scope of the work to be completed, and how the system will improve your household emissions, and energy bills.
Once the plans for the work have been agreed upon, you will be able to submit your application through an online portal, and receive the funding in the form of vouchers.
Does Solar Thermal Require Planning Permission?
Most properties will not need to apply for planning permission before installing a solar thermal system. The few exceptions typically apply to listed buildings, or properties located within certain conservation areas.
We can, however, help you to navigate this area if you have any concerns over your development rights during your solar survey, and ensure that you are ready to submit your application for the Green Homes Grant – and commence work on your property – as soon as possible.
Does This Scheme Signify Another Step Forward for the UK's Renewable Energy Efforts?
The past months have represented an unstable time for all aspects of our lives. From financial hardship to ongoing safety concerns – and, of course, fears over the future – it has been incredibly challenging for many of us to envision a time where positive progress is able to outshine the difficulties of maintaining our collective way of life.
Now, however, we are able to begin to move away from a period of reflection, and instead we can all make use of the opportunity for widespread change. The Green Homes Grant offers the perfect opportunity for renewal. By replacing outdated and costly systems in our own homes, we can take part in a much more optimistic period of economic growth, sustainability, and safety for everyone.
In addition to offering homeowners and landlords greater accessibility to sustainable measures, the government has also allocated a further £1 billion towards improving energy-efficiency within public buildings – in particular, schools, colleges, and hospitals.
Get in Touch
Now marks an excellent opportunity to prepare your home for the future. If you would like to learn more about solar thermal installation on your home, letting property, or park home, our impartial solar survey can provide you with all the information you need in order to decide.
We are fully MCS accredited, and can implement solar thermal on your property to the high standard required in order to qualify for the government’s Green Home Scheme. We have a wealth of experience in optimising systems to suit the properties on which they are built, and will be able to provide support throughout every stage of the process.