Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Greener homes, jobs and cheaper bills on the way as government launches biggest upgrade of nation’s buildings in a generation

Published: 8 October 2020 - Sarah Mead

Homes, schools and hospitals across England are set to be greener and cheaper to run thanks to a £3 billion plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings – the biggest in a generation. From 1 October, homeowners can sign up for big savings on upgrades to their homes under the government’s £2 billion Green Homes Grant, with an additional £1 billion announced to improve the energy efficiency of publicly owned buildings.

 

The Green Homes Grant scheme will see the Government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements up to £10,000, to make over 600,000 homes more energy efficient. Those homeowners with low-incomes, including those on certain benefits, are eligible for a grant covering up to 100 per cent of the cost of works up to £10,000.

Grants will be offered to cover green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs, to the installation of double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating like heat pumps or solar thermal - measures that could help households save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

It will cut people’s energy bills and carbon emissions, whilst also supporting over 100,000 jobs in green construction for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople across the UK.

The launch of the Green Homes Grant forms part of a wider plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings expected to support an additional 120,000 jobs, which also includes:

  • £1 billion to boost the energy efficiency of public buildings, including schools and hospitals through a Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund
  • New measures to ensure nearly 3 million privately rented homes are upgraded to modern energy efficiency standards by 2028
  • £50 million to improve the energy efficiency of social housing

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Our plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings and help build back better is good news for jobs, the environment and people’s back pockets, as we reduce emissions and help cut energy bills. I urge everyone to visit the Green Home Grants website to see how they can make the most of this fantastic scheme.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We promised to support jobs and protect the environment – and the Green Homes Grant delivers on this. We’re giving homeowners, landlords and local authorities the funding they need to hire local tradespeople and make our homes more energy efficient. By supporting the green van men and women, we’ll save money, save jobs and save the planet.”

£500 million of the of the Green Homes Grant scheme has been assigned for local authorities to provide green home improvements for households with an income of under £30,000.

Tenants will also benefit from the Government’s plan to boost energy efficiency thanks to proposals for the private rental sector, published today. The improvements will be achieved by raising the energy performance standard of privately-rented properties, with landlords having to ensure homes meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C requirements.

These could save nearly 3 million homes an average of £220 a year on their annual heating bills and lift up to 900,000 low income households out of fuel poverty. The plans could also support 90,000 jobs in the energy sector annually. 

Costs will be capped at £10,000 and landlords can take advantage of the Green Homes Grant to fund the necessary improvements. The private rental sector measures are being phased in to limit the disruption to both landlords and tenants, with improvements having to be implemented for new tenancies from 1 April 2025 and for all tenancies by 1 April 2028.

In a further boost, the Government is making £50 million available for social housing through a demonstrator project for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). This UK-wide demonstrator scheme will see grants supplied to upgrade the energy efficiency of over 2000 of the worst-performing social homes. It is estimated that those living in upgraded properties will save between £300 and £500 on their energy bills each year. As well as helping meet the country’s net zero emissions target, the SHDF Demonstrator will support up to 3200 jobs in the green energy sector.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will help public sector organisations in England, including central government departments and their agencies, local authorities, schools and NHS Trusts, to install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. Installations under the PSDS are expected to support up to 30,000 low-carbon jobs.

Today’s energy efficiency plan forms part of the Government’s wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener from coronavirus.

Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42% lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72%.

The Green Homes Grant website is now open for applications: https://www.gov.uk/GreenHomesGrant

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