From 30 September 2020, homeowners in England (including landlords) can apply for a Green Homes Grant. This is a new government voucher scheme that could see you receive vouchers worth up to £5,000 to undertake work on your home to make it more energy efficient.
We’re here to break down what you get with the Green Homes Grant, how to check if you’re eligible and, most importantly, how much money it could save you in the long run.
What do you get with the Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grant is a voucher scheme that will see homeowners in England receive up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures such as insulation or low carbon heating improvements.
Essentially, the government is promising to pay two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency changes to your home. So, if you are eligible and have £3,000 of work undertaken, you would pay £1,000 of the bill and the government will give you £2,000 worth of vouchers to cover the remainder.
Anyone in a low income household who is receiving at least one income-based or disability benefit can get 100% of the costs covered, worth up to £10,000 under the scheme.
The vouchers are for work that would improve the energy efficiency of your home. These are broken down into primary measures and secondary measures. Most importantly, the vouchers need to be used towards the cost of installing at least one primary measure.
Primary insulation measures include:
- Solid wall
- Under floor
- Cavity wall
- Flat or pitched roof
- Room in the roof
- Insulation of a park home
Primary low carbon heat measures include:
- Air source, ground source or hybrid heat pump
- Solar thermal
- Biomass boilers
The following are classed as secondary measures:
- Draught proofing
- Double/triple glazing
- Secondary glazing
- External energy efficient doors
- Heating controls
- Hot water tank thermostat and insulation
The important thing to be aware of is that the voucher for the secondary measure is capped at the cost of the primary measure. So if you receive a £400 voucher to insulate your loft, you can then only receive a £400 voucher to undertake draught proofing.
Am I eligible?
You can check whether you are eligible for the Green Homes Grant through the Simple Energy Advice site. Here you will just need to answer a series of simple questions focusing on things like whether you own your property or receive benefits.
The scheme is not available for use on new builds that are not occupied. And if you are a leaseholder with a share-of-freeholder type lease, just bear in mind that you may need to get permission from any other freeholders before making changes.
The main thing to be conscious of is that while you may be eligible to apply, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed the grant. So don’t commit to any work until you have had your application approved.
Once you have checked whether you are eligible, you can use the tool on the Simple Energy Advice site to identify a list of measures you could undertake and find accredited tradespeople.
The government advises that you get quotes from at least three before choosing. Then you just need to apply through gov.uk, and submit details of your chosen quote and the work that’s being undertaken.
What else do I need to know?
There are only 600,000 vouchers available and work needs to be completed by 31 March 2021. So, if you are interested in the Green Homes Grant, you need to act fast.
Having said that, also look to compare the cost of doing the work without the grant. While it may seem like a good deal, getting a quote outside of the scheme and comparing the cost is a useful exercise.
How much will the Green Homes Grant save me?
The government is claiming that energy efficient improvements to your home could save you up to £600 a year. This obviously depends on your property and what work you have done. But in an effort to become more environmentally friendly, you could potentially slash the cost of your utility bills.
If you do find yourself making savings, why not put that money straight into a savings pot? Or, if you are after larger returns, maybe consider a stocks and shares ISA or share dealing account. With interest rates currently at record lows, you may find that the latter is where you can achieve higher growth for your savings.
You may also find that by making energy efficiency improvements to your home you increase its value. If this is the case, you could potentially remortgage in order to get a lower interest rate or to release some equity.
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