Imagine redefining your home setup with energy-efficient solutions. You can have minimised electricity bills and contribute towards a greener planet. Still, is this process easy?
Going green has its pros and cons. The biggest issue in installing energy-efficient systems is the high initial investment. However, governments try to encourage homeowners to minimise their carbon footprint.
The Green Homes Grant was one such scheme that aimed at improving energy efficiency. Unfortunately, the scheme ended in March 2021. So, does this mean new applicants can no longer avail of government solar panel grants? No, definitely!
UK citizens can make the best use of schemes similar to the Green Homes Grant. This guide explains the benefits, issues and future of this ambitious energy scheme.
- 1 What was the Green Homes Grant?
- 2 Green Homes Grant Initial Forecasts
- 3 Green Homes Grant Eligibility and Expiry
- 4 What Did the Green Homes Grant Achieve?
- 5 Practical Challenges for Green Homes Grant
- 6 Benefits of Energy Efficiency Grant Schemes
- 7 The Next Alternatives to Green Homes Grant
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Final Thoughts
What was the Green Homes Grant?
In simple words, the Green Homes Grant was a scheme introduced by the UK government in 2020.
This scheme applied to domestic users. The scheme introduced vouchers as an auxiliary source to install energy-efficient improvements.
Overall, the scheme was promising and had various noticeable figures to lure homeowners.
- £1.5 Billion funding scheme
- Application for up to £5,000 funding
- Funding for low-income households £10,000
- Scheme active from September 2020 to March 2021
The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme was another auxiliary programme launched by the UK government.
This scheme had £0.5 billion funds reserved for local authorities.
Green Homes Grant Initial Forecasts
An initial estimate of the success of any government scheme is crucial to work on various parameters.
The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme had specific forecasts to generate jobs. Also, it aimed to move one step ahead to achieve zero carbon emissions.
These initial forecasts of the scheme were hugely promising.
- Support to at least 82,500 jobs
- Enabling around 600,000 households to save energy bills
- Customer assistance through the energy advice website.
The voucher system was instrumental in helping households delve into this government grant.
How Did the Voucher System Work?
The vouchers covered two specific funding amounts as given below.
- 2/3rd costs of energy-saving home improvements
- £5,000 max government contribution
To avail of the vouchers, homeowners needed to visit the Simple Energy Advice website. Consequently, the website suggested measures for energy efficiency improvements.
The voucher system supported primary and secondary improvement measures. These measures are interrelated. Without installing a primary measure, household owners could not apply for secondary funding.
Basic energy saving measures were included in the primary category. Homeowners could apply for the Green Homes Grant voucher for the installation of any of these setups.
- Roof insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Under-floor insulation
- The heat pump (Air or ground source)
- Biomass boilers
- Solar thermal
You could use this grant to add an extra insulation setup like an additional loft.
Example: If your insulation system costs £4,500 (approx.), the Green Homes Grant could provide funding of £3,000.
The secondary measures were the next step to avail the government funds. Moreover, these measures were focused on additional energy-saving improvements.
- Hot water tank insulation
- Draught proofing
- Heating controls
- Energy-efficient doors
Availing the grants required specific criteria for UK citizens.
Green Homes Grant Eligibility and Expiry
At this time, you can no longer avail of the Green Homes Grant. However, you can apply for government funding under specific conditions.
- Condition 1: You already have a Green Homes Grant voucher
- Condition 2: A TrustMark registered installer has completed the work
- Condition 3: You own a residential property
These conditions can redeem your Green Homes Grant voucher. However, you are not eligible for this funding if you have a new home without previous occupancy.
The Green Homes Grant voucher is non-transferrable. Also, these vouchers carry a specific expiry period.
- Up to 31 August, 2021 are valid for three months
- Vouchers after 31 August 2021 are valid up to 30 November 2021
Hence, existing voucher holders should redeem their grant papers before the expiry period.
What Did the Green Homes Grant Achieve?
Energy-saving schemes are government initiatives to boost our shift towards using renewable energy sources.
The main emphasis of funds, incentives and tax reductions is to include a large population in reducing carbon footprint. Similarly, the Green Homes Grant aimed at employment generation and a gradual shift to cleaner energy sources.
Irrespective of the forecasts, practical limitations and challenges led to the underachievement of this scheme. Here is what the grant could achieve realistically.
- Total vouchers £35.9 million out of £1.5 billion (Until 31 March 2021)
- A benefit to 47,500 homes out of an estimated 6,00,000
- A total of 1,69,012 applications until 31 March 2021
The National Audit Office report on the Green Homes Grant has essential statistics about the performance of this scheme.
Moreover, the report explains some issues with this scheme that highlight its short tenure.
Practical Challenges for Green Homes Grant
It is vital to understand why a government funding scheme ceases to attract citizens if you are a consumer. Notably, some factors were detrimental for the Green Homes Grant in missing the original forecast numbers.
- Long waiting period: The processing of grant applications took considerable delay that led to an increase in complaints
- Slow voucher distribution: The administrators faced system challenges that led to the sluggish distribution of vouchers to eligible homeowners
- Complex Paperwork: Homeowners found it challenging to find a registered contractor to install the energy-saving systems
Also, the tradespeople involved in the scheme needed a TrustMark registration. This certification was impractical for specific firms and companies.
These challenges put a hold on the ambitious Green Homes Grant. However, experts believe that preparation and rectification of mistakes will see the return of similar schemes.
Benefits of Energy Efficiency Grant Schemes
Although the Green Homes Grant programme did not find desired success, such schemes are becoming crucial.
With depleting resources and the need to reduce carbon footprint, government initiatives like Green Homes Grant can help every person in a country. Here are some benefits of incentive projects.
Inclusion of Large Population Base
At this time, everyone needs to contribute towards a greener planet. Conventional energy sources like coal, gas and fossil fuels are detrimental to the environment.
Common alternatives like solar, wind, hydroelectric energy can prove lucrative in environmental and economic terms.
Still, families with low and middle-income groups cannot afford to install such renewable energy systems. The initial investment is impractical for most homeowners.
Programmes like the Green Homes Grant offer incentives to such families. Hence, with a rising number of people installing such systems, the load on non-renewable sources will decline.
Lowering Greenhouse Gases
Increased energy efficiency will directly lower the production of harmful greenhouse gases. Government schemes can target and reduce specific polluting energy sources.
Moreover, with more people shifting towards solar and other non-polluting sources, the planet will benefit eventually.
The whole purpose of energy efficiency schemes is to encourage and involve citizens of all facets of society. Hence, irrespective of their economic background, our planet can sustain itself without a rapid environmental decline.
Reduction in Utility Bills
Energy-efficient solutions prove lucrative in reducing electricity bills. Schemes that offer incentives can further decrease monthly expenditures towards energy.
This effect leads to the stabilisation of electricity prices. Thus, the economic condition of citizens improves.
All these benefits eventually lead to a dynamic economy along with the reduction of pollutants and clean air.
Implementing schemes like the Green Homes Grant require a skilled workforce. These programmes lead to job generation.
Professionals having expertise in management, technology, commerce, etc., can get jobs related to energy efficiency schemes.
Also, with reduced energy imports from foreign countries, the population can benefit on the whole. The shift to renewable energy sources can lead to the development of new industries that require relevant skills.
The Next Alternatives to Green Homes Grant
As mentioned earlier, the Green Homes Grant can witness a reboot in the upcoming days. Notably, the scheme saw extraordinary homeowner demand to avail the benefits.
Thus, consumers can get a modified and enhanced programme for their energy efficiency enthusiasm. So, the real question is – What’s next? Here are the essential pointers.
- £1.0 billion decarbonisation budget
- £562 million funding for retrofit schemes
With consumer demand and experts emphasising a better grant programme, the UK government needs to announce a better and well-planned scheme.
At this time, you can benefit from the following schemes.
- Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
- Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
- Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
- Winter Fuel Payment
- Warm Home Discount
- Cold Weather Payment
So, be prompt to check your eligibility for the active energy-related schemes. After all, nobody would want to miss out on government grants for a greener planet.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many queries about the Green Home Grant scheme that needs proper perusal. This section aims at simplifying common questions related to the scheme and energy improvement.
Can I avail myself of incentives from both Green Homes Grant and RHI?
It is possible to receive incentives from both domestic Renewable Heat Incentive and Green Homes Grant (GHG) schemes.
If you have a GHG voucher, you need to contact the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. This government office will deduct the voucher amount from your RHI bills.
Do solar panels fall under the Green Homes Grant?
Insulation, solar, and biomass boilers are prominent measures under the Green House Grant. So, if you applied and received the voucher in the active period, the government can pay up to 2/3rd of your solar panel installation amount.
So, if you are installing solar thermal panels, be sure to apply for similar incentive schemes.
How can I make my home energy efficient?
Insulation, installing a solar system, secondary heating source, draught-proofing, and energy-efficient fittings are some methods to save energy.
In short, reducing, recycle and reusing is the mantra to decrease your carbon footprint. Also, be sure to upgrade your water heating system.
What is the meaning of carbon footprint?
In simple words, a carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases that we generate. Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation are the most significant sources of greenhouse gases.
At this time, China is the biggest contributor to CO2 generation.
The Green Homes Grant is no longer an active government scheme. However, customers can redeem their vouchers before the expiry of the programme.
The whole world needs to take the issue of global warming seriously. At this time, solar energy is a promising alternative to fossil fuels. With well-planned incentives, the reach of renewable sources can increase at a brisk pace.
Hopefully, there will be better schemes related to energy efficiency grants soon. After all, the urgency to save our planet is now more alarming than ever.