What is the Green Homes Grant and why is it important for Brighton and Hove homeowners?
On 8th July 2020 the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced details of the Government’s £3bn green investment package that aims to deliver energy efficiency upgrades and low-carbon heating schemes across the UK.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Sunak laid out the Government’s plans to provide grants of up to £5,000 for homeowners and landlords to install energy saving measures such as insulation and double-glazed windows.
Under the £2 billion ‘Green Homes Grant’, the Government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. For low-income households, the full cost will be covered up to a value of £10,000.
An additional £1 billion of funding will also be provided to improve the energy performance of community buildings and social housing units.
This is welcome news for residents of Brighton and Hove, where 6,288 homes have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of less than E, and where an estimated 16,000 residents are at risk of fuel poverty.
How can homeowners apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher?
Homeowners will be able to apply for a voucher from September. However, if the scheme is anything like the ‘Fix Your Bike’ voucher scheme, which ran out of vouchers within hours of its launch in July, those wishing to get their hands on a Green Homes Grant voucher will have to act fast.
Adding to the challenge of getting a voucher is the need for all work to be completed by an accredited tradesperson. In order to qualify for the scheme homeowners must get their improvements carried out by an installer who has TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation.
According to the Business Secretary Alok Sharma this will “guarantee that building work is completed to a high standard by accredited tradespeople, ensuring consumers are fully protected”.
Kayla Ente, founder and CEO of Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCo) said:
This announcement is exciting news in a positive direction. BHESCo are looking forward to helping people seize this opportunity to waste less energy, making their homes more comfortable and cheaper to heat while taking action to safeguard the environment.”
What types of improvements can be made through the Green Homes Grant scheme?
The types of energy efficiency improvements and heating upgrades that can be made include:
How does the Green Homes Grant fit in with Brighton & Hove City Council's Housing policy?
Brighton and Hove City Council have declared a climate emergency and set an ambition for the city to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030. Improving the energy efficiency of local buildings was identified as a key strategy to reaching this goal, and the government’s new green homes plan will provide much needed support.
Siriol Hugh-Jones of Brighton & Hove City Council Housing Committee said:
To that end, I expect the current cap of £3,500 on the cost of landlords’ energy efficiency measures to be raised to £5,000, as the UK Green Building Council has been calling for, or, better still, to £8,500. Overall, I very much hope this will be an opportunity to boost the local economy through the use of local providers employing local residents to improve local homes.”
What steps should homeowners take next to improve the energy efficiency of their property?
The most cost effective solution to improving thermal performance will differ from property to property depending on a number of variables including the building’s size, age, aspect, and energy consumption.
It is therefore essential to gain a thorough understanding of the energy demand and consumption patterns of a property before you can decide what the most effective technologies will be to install.
For this reason, a bespoke BHESCo energy survey should be the first phase of any planned building improvements, underpinning every other stage of your future energy strategy.
Landlords and homeowners who are interested in taking advantage of this scheme and want to identify the best energy saving solution for their property should contact BHESCo to arrange an energy survey.