Do you qualify for up to £10,000 in green home improvement vouchers?
Vouchers worth up to £10,000 are being made available to homeowners and landlords as part of the UK Government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme.
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Announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 July 2020, the scheme is intended to help improve the energy efficiency of homes in the United Kingdom.
With the Green Homes Grant, properties can be upgraded by installing important energy-saving features such as insulation and double glazing to improve the Energy Performance Rating (EPC).
Not only will this reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and power a home, these energy efficient improvements will also help residents save on energy bills and reduce their carbon footprints.
Under the new scheme, homeowners and landlords will be provided with vouchers to pay for home improvements to increase the energy efficiency of their properties, with the UK Government footing most, or all, of the bill.
For most homes, the vouchers will provide a cash value of up to £5,000. This amount will be doubled for lower income homes, which can be eligible for vouchers worth up to £10,000.
The scheme works slightly differently depending on which of the two categories your home falls under. The vouchers will cover at least two thirds of the cost of your eco-friendly home improvements for households eligible for vouchers up to £5,000.
However, households with low incomes that are eligible for up the higher value vouchers will not be charged anything and the government will cover the costs up to £10,000.
According to the Treasury, one example of how the scheme would work with a voucher up to £5,000 is as follows:
As green improvements will also reduce your energy bills, you stand to save hundreds of pounds each year as an ongoing benefit.
Expected to launch officially in September 2020, the scheme provides vouchers to homeowners in England as grants, so none of the money will need to be repaid.
Grants are sums of money from the government that you don’t have to pay back, but usually they must be used to fulfil a particular purpose. In this case, the grants are specifically for investing in energy efficiency.
Green Homes Grants will cover a large portion of most energy efficient improvements, and for some households it will cover the entire cost.
You will benefit from cheaper energy bills thanks to the new energy-efficient features in your home, so you’ll also save money in the long run. The scheme ensures that you get these benefits with relatively little to no cost to you.
In total, the scheme will provide £2bn to help improve energy efficiency as part of a wider £3bn project to cut carbon emissions. The Green Homes Grant is currently only applicable to homes in England, and will therefore not apply to properties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Designed to enable homeowners to implement changes that will make their homes more energy efficient, the Green Homes Grant also provides benefits relating to the environment and the economy.
By promoting energy efficiency, the scheme enables homeowners in the UK to invest in environmentally-friendly features like insulation and double glazing.
With these home improvements, less energy will be lost so less energy will be needed, reducing a home’s carbon footprint.
Small changes to each household combine to make a positive impact on the UK’s energy efficiency and reductions in energy usage and carbon emissions as a whole.
What’s more, less energy being wasted in previously energy inefficient homes creates the crucial benefit of cost savings.
As less money will need to be spent on energy bills, households will be able to spend money elsewhere, boosting the economy at a crucial time during the coronavirus pandemic.
It will also relieve some pressure on households that have suffered job losses or other financial strains as a consequence of the global health crisis.
If you are hoping to make changes to your household so that it can be more environmentally friendly, government-funded energy vouchers through the Green Homes Grant scheme may be able to help you cover the costs.
While the full list of energy efficiency features has not yet been released by the government, it’s likely these will relate to core energy improvements. It’s not yet clear whether the scheme will include the likes low energy lighting, energy efficient doors, heat pumps or eco-friendly boilers.
There is some speculation as to whether the vouchers will cover replacements. For example, changing existing double-glazed windows with new double glazing that comes with a higher Window Energy Rating, to increase your chances of your home being A-rated for energy efficiency.
Recommended and accredited suppliers will be shared once the Green Homes Grant scheme is officially launched in September 2020.
If you have already placed an offer with a supplier, it is not yet clear if you could benefit from cost savings if you cancel and wait for the scheme to opens, as this would depend largely on your eligibility for the grants.
You would likely be able to make use of the grant if your home lacks insulation. On the other hand, if you have many energy saving measures in place already, you may not be eligible. It may not be sensible to cancel or delay home improvements you already have planned if you cannot confirm your eligibility.
Additionally, you won’t yet know when the work can be scheduled for. As the UK Government has not yet confirmed the waiting time between application, approval and having vouchers issued, you might be left waiting longer than expected.
It is expected that more than 600,000 homes in England will be able to take advantage of the new Green Homes Grant scheme.
Eligibility criteria has not yet been released, but there doesn’t appear to be any qualifying income for vouchers up to £5,000, so most commentators anticipate that the majority of homeowners and landlords will be eligible if their homes need energy efficiency improvements.
The type of work and supplier you use are also factors for eligibility. You will need to get a quote from an accredited supplier and the type of work must be approved under the scheme. Only after this will your voucher be issued.
For the majority of grant recipients, you will receive a voucher paying for two-thirds of your eco-friendly home improvements, up to £5,000. For those on low incomes, vouchers can cover the total cost of energy efficiency work on your property, up to £10,000.
In the past, the Green Deal, a similar government-funded scheme, required pre-qualifying inspections to confirm whether a home was suitable.
If this is introduced for the Green Homes Grant scheme, it may also dictate the type of home improvements your property is eligible for and whether you will need a package, such as combining cavity wall and underfloor insulation.
You’ll be able to apply for the Green Home Grant scheme in September 2020, once it has launched.
Applications for greener home improvement vouchers via the scheme will be done online using the Simple Energy Advice website.
In order to complete your application, you will need to have a quote from an approved supplier. This can be a local tradesperson who will be able to install your energy efficiency improvements and is accredited under the scheme.
Once your grant has been approved, you’ll be able to spend the value of your voucher on your eco-positive home improvements.
There hasn’t been a timeline released yet to indicate how long it will take to move through each phase of the application process, how long you might have to wait for approval and whether the work needs to be completed within a set period.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to apply as soon as the scheme has opened to be in with the best chance of getting your voucher approved early, so you can make your home warmer and more comfortable for the winter.
It’s a good idea to make use of the Green Homes Grant if you are eligible. Not only does it significantly lower (or completely pay for) the cost of essential energy efficiency improvements for your home, but it provides longer-term financial benefits.
With the new energy efficient features installed, you will require less energy to feel the warmth in your home. The consequence of this is that you will have a more pleasant home environment at a lower cost, which in turn saves you potentially hundreds of pounds each year on lower energy bills.
It’s estimated that the average annual savings on energy bills is likely to be around £200 per year, with potential savings for families up to £300 per year.
You can get a sense of the impact energy efficiency improvements would have on your home by checking your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Many potential property buyers look at EPCs to identify roughly how much it would cost to heat, power and produce hot water. This is because EPCs help you understand how energy efficient a building is.
An EPC is graded from A to G.
If the EPC of your home indicates that your property does not have energy-saving technology or energy-efficient features installed, it’s highly likely that you would benefit from the Green Homes Grant to make those improvements.
On top of energy efficiency home improvements, another great way to reduce your energy bills is to compare deals online. By shopping around in this way, you help to keep the market competitive and prices lower.
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