Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Government's big green giveaway earlier this year. But what's actually going on? Here's everything you need to know...

Applications are just about to open.

From this Wednesday (30th September 2020), you can apply for a voucher via the scheme’s online portal. The Government is recommending that homeowners first use the Simple Energy Advice website (simpleenergyadvice.org.uk) to check their eligibility and decide which home improvements are suitable. Vouchers will be issued once the property’s work has been quoted by an accredited supplier and approved.

It hopes to help 650,000 homes.

£2 billion has been allocated to fund the scheme. Homeowners will be given vouchers to cover the cost of energy-efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to their properties. The Government estimates that thanks to such upgrades, households could see their annual energy bills cut by up to £600!

You could receive up to £10,000.

For most households, the vouchers cover at least two thirds of the cost of energy-saving improvements, up to £5000. 

The nation’s poorest households could receive grants of up to £10,000 to cover the full cost of any work. To qualify for these, you must be receiving some form of Government benefit (eg. disability or income-based benefit).

Renewable energy is included.

Ground-source heat pumps, air-source heat pumps, solar thermal panels and biomass boilers (all renewable heating systems) are covered by the scheme. A property must have appropriate wall, loft and roof insulation to be eligible for renewable technologies, but the two can be installed together as part of a package.

Did You Know?

Heat pumps produce 4 kW of heat for every 1 kW of electricity they consume. That makes them 400% efficient! For comparison, a standard boiler is only 60-90% efficient.

There are primary measures and secondary measures.

Renewable heating systems and insulation are classed as primary measures. Secondary measures include double and triple glazing, energy efficient doors, draught proofing, hot water thermostats and heating controls. A property must have at least one primary measure installed to qualify for funding for a secondary measure. Funding for a secondary measure will be of equal value to the funding of the primary measure.

Your installer must be officially accredited.

To make sure all home improvements are of high quality, the company carrying out the work must be registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). This is the official body in charge of regulating international standards for low-carbon energy products and companies. Your installer must also be registered with TrustMark, the only Government-endorsed scheme of accredited tradesmen. At Cactus Energy, all of our installers are MCS- and TrustMark-registered.

The scheme only covers England.

Properties must be in England to be eligible. However, you could still use an installer based in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland to carry out your home improvement.

Landlords can benefit.

As well as owner-occupied homes, properties owned by landlords are eligible for the scheme. This includes landlords of private housing and social housing. Park homeowners of residential dwellings on gypsy and traveller sites can also apply for vouchers.

You’re still eligible for the RHI.

If you use your voucher to fund a renewable heating installation, you can also apply to receive payments via the Domestic Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI). This is a scheme which pays households for any heat they generate via renewable methods, including the heat they use themselves. 

Households already on the Domestic RHI can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher for a new energy-saving improvement (i.e. work that is separate from the renewable heating system they already have installed).

The money must be spent by next March.

Currently, the Government have said that the vouchers have to be spent by 31st March 2021. The home improvement work must also be completed by this time.

It’s good news for the environment.

UK houses are among the worst insulated in Europe. Reducing the amount of heat energy wasted by our buildings is vital in cutting carbon emissions and keeping the nation on track to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.

It’s good news for the economy.

The Green Homes Grant is just one aspect of the Government’s ‘Green New Deal’, a £3 billion stimulus package designed to re-build the economy out of the Covid Crisis. The Deal also allocates money for improving the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools, hospitals and military bases. It is hoped that investing in ‘green’ sectors will boost the economy by creating around 140,000 new jobs and stimulating demand for eco-friendly home improvements.

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