What is the 'Green Homes Grant' and is it working well?

A quick glance into the government's 'Green Homes Grant'.

Tandem Bank
November 1, 2020

The government recently launched the Green Homes Grant for a six month period, giving UK homeowners the opportunity to install energy efficient improvements to their homes. The government will give those eligible a voucher which goes towards the cost of improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces. However, you must redeem the voucher and complete the installation by March 2021. 

The vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of your chosen home improvement (or 100% if someone in your household receives benefits), up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000. Whilst initially this seems like a lot of money, energy efficient home improvements are hugely expensive and £5,000 doesn’t actually get you that far. In addition, the voucher must be used to install at least one ‘primary’ measure before moving onto anything else. 

Primary measures include:

Once you have installed at least one of the above measures, you are able to use the voucher to install a secondary measure (if you have any voucher leftover!). The amount you get towards the cost of secondary measures cannot exceed the amount you get for primary measures and to redeem vouchers for secondary measures you must have already installed and redeemed the voucher for a primary measure.

Secondary measures include: 

Whilst on the face of it the Green Homes Grant seems like a good idea and one that will help to improve the UK’s carbon footprint, it has been met with overwhelming negativity from consumers who cite the scheme as over complicated and that it isn’t running for a long enough time to actually get the improvements done - a huge amount of people say they can’t find anyone in their area who is able to install any improvements before the scheme ends in March. 

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis asked his Twitter followers if they had applied for, or were considering applying for, a Green Homes Grant. The poll found that 84% of those who have applied or tried to have been unable to find an installer who could complete the work on time, or were unable to find an installer in their area who was participating in the scheme.

In addition, to use the scheme, consumers need to choose at least one "primary" improvement such as low-carbon heating or insulation. However, you can't just replace what you've got – this needs to be new or a top-up. The primary measures are also more expensive and tend to use up a huge amount of the voucher for measures that would be second choice. Consumers want to be able to draft proof, upgrade their glazing and install energy efficient doors, all of which come under the secondary measures. 

Whilst it is encouraging to see the government introducing policy aimed at a greener future for the UK, the Green Homes Grant does suffer from some logistical flaws, that if addressed, could see increased participation in the policy. To see improved success in this policy the government could expand the window that consumers have to claim the grant or expand the scope of what is deemed a primary measure under the grant. We have some pretty strong opinions on this…. So watch this space!

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