3 steps to prepare for the Green Homes Grants Scheme

The Green Homes Grant announced last week will mean hundreds of thousands of homeowners will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements.

Through the grants, the Government will pay for at least two-thirds of the cost of the work – the Treasury says a homeowner installing cavity wall and floor insulation costing £4,000 would only pay about £1,320, with the Government contributing the remaining £2,680, and those on the lowest incomes could have full costs covered, worth up to £10,000.

What measures will be covered?

The Government hasn’t revealed the full details of what measures will be covered, but the vouchers can be used to pay for a range of different energy saving improvements including insulation, and perhaps new heating systems, and energy saving windows and doors.

When and how can I apply?

The scheme will launch in September and will work via online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures, along with details of accredited local suppliers.

What builders are able to do the work?

At the time of the Chancellor making the announcement it was not clear which builders would be able to deliver the work.

Based on earlier schemes like the Green Deal it is likely that builders and installers will need certain certification to work on the scheme. We will provide updates and details as soon as more information is available.

What can I do to prepare for September?

There’s plenty you can do in the run up to September to get a head start on planning your home improvements, we’ve listed 3 key actions below.

The easiest first step you can take is to get in touch with the Futureproof team – we offer free, independent advice to help you work out the best home improvements for your house and your needs.

Our advisors work with homeowners to make the best decisions for their home and budget, answering questions like – What solutions will help me save the most energy? What kind of insulation would work best in my house? Which builder should I call and how can I be sure they'll do a good job?

1. Establish your goals for the home

Whether it’s comfort, saving money on bills or reducing the environmental impact of your home, it’s useful to start by considering what your ultimate goals are before planning work.

You may only want a single measure like double glazing, solid wall insulation or solar PV, or perhaps you're already planning an extension or loft conversion and need to think about how to maximise the energy savings you could install - incorporating insulation and ventilation into an extension can have lasting benefits for years to come.

If you can implement everything at the same time in a whole house refurbishment, this can be the most cost effective approach in the long term. We can help you develop a retrofit roadmap, enabling you to tackle the whole house over a number of years or all in one go, including all the energy saving technologies along the way, to achieve your desired outcome.

Register your interest here and one of our advisors will be in touch to discuss how we can best help you with your aspirations.

2. Create a whole house plan

With your goals in mind, the next step is to create a plan of works – thinking about the sequence in which measures can be installed to maximise your budget and save energy.

Our interactive home tool can help with this as it includes crucial considerations when planning any type of improvement such as what should be upgraded before considering renewables, what type of ventilation solution will work for your needs, any planning regulations, and types of materials should be considered when converting a loft space etc.

As part of our service we can also refer you to an energy surveyor to undertake a whole house survey, this provides a more in depth analysis of where you are losing heat from your home and how best to reduce this.

These surveys provide an overview report providing you with a high level strategy to complete your retrofit. Based on the survey findings, our advisors support you to make decisions on how best to proceed.

3. Contact builders and installers for quotes

Once you have your plan, regardless of the funding that might be available, you’ll want to find builders or installers who you trust will do the work to a high standard.

Past Government schemes, such as the 2015 Green Deal, faced issues with the quality of work undertaken by some installers, for example, using inappropriate materials and methods which led to damage to people’s home.

For this reason, Futureproof training partners The Green Register, have been building a network of highly skilled and trained local installers to refer homeowners to – our Futureproof Associate Builders (FABs).

FABs are experienced in installing energy saving measures and ensure work is completed to the highest standard, using appropriate materials and methods.

For peace of mind, once work is underway, we also offer homeowners referral to a Retrofit Coordinator who is able to inspect works in progress and ensure the work is carried out to a high standard. (Note this is not a building control inspection, any works that require Building Control approval and inspection will still need to be arranged by your builder).

You may have a preferred builder in mind. In which case our FABs can offer additional specialist support with onsite toolbox talks at an appropriate time in your build. More details on toolbox talks here.

More about Futureproof

Futureproof is a service managed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, a Bristol based charity with 40 years experience offering energy saving advice to households.

The training and skills development is offered by The Green Register, a not-for-profit organisation who have been leading sustainable construction training since 2000.

Funding for our service comes from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, with the aim of finding new ways to help people make their homes more efficient.

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