Last month Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a circa £3 billion green investment plan, including the Green Homes Grant, as part of his Summer Economic Update. The UK Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now published further details on which energy saving works will be eligible for grants, which will be issued as vouchers.
The works are split into primary and secondary categories. In order to qualify for any funding, homeowners must install at least one of the following measures in the primary category:
- insulation (such as loft, cavity wall or under-floor insulation); and/or
- low carbon heating (such as air source heat, ground source heat pump or solar thermal).
Replacements of existing insulation or low carbon heating will not qualify for a grant but additional works to "top up" existing measures are eligible. In order for the installation of low carbon heating to qualify, the house will also need to have adequate insulation before it is eligible for a grant.
Providing that the energy saving works include at least one measure from the primary category, homeowners and landlords will also be able to claim for a grant for secondary measures which include:
- double/triple glazing (only where replacing single glazing);
- energy efficient doors (only where replacing doors installed prior to 2002);
- draught proofing; and
- heating controls and insulation, such as thermostats and smart heating controls.
Grants for secondary measures will be capped at the same amount provided in relation to the primary measures meaning if a landlord claims £1,500 for insulation, they will receive a maximum of £1,500 for double glazing. As we already knew, grants could cover at least two thirds of the cost of energy efficiency home improvements, up to £5,000 per household (low income home owners can claim 100% of the cost up to £10,000).
In addition to details of what is covered by the grants, the Government have also now confirmed who can carry out such works. Contractors will need to have the TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation to be able to take part in the scheme and a list of such contractors will be provided to those applying for vouchers.
The detail which has now been published should hopefully provide landlords and social housing providers with enough information to be able to assess whether they intend to make any improvements to their assets and if so, which may qualify for funding, although we understand that ultimately this may come down to which improvements the Simple Energy Advice service suggests. The scheme is still set to open in September 2020 and details of how ! to apply for a voucher are expected before its launch.
In addition to the Green Homes Grant, the green investment plan also included £1 billion for energy saving works to public buildings and £50 million scheme to pilot innovative solutions to decarbonise social housing at scale. We are yet to see further detail from the Government on these.
By Sarah Wales, Associate at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson