The Government has released further detail around the Green Homes Grant which has provided greater clarity for industry and installers alike. Homeowners will receive grants of up to £5,000 (or £10,000 for low income households) to install a range of energy efficiency and low carbon heating technologies. Available measures for the voucher scheme are split into “primary” and “secondary” categories (see notes to editor).
To quality for funding, at least one primary measure will need to be installed and households can only install secondary measures if at least one primary measure is in the package of works. For low carbon heating to be installed, households will need to have adequate insulation, and all installers must be registered with either MCS or TrustMark to install voucher-generated measures.
As part of the Green Homes Grant, £500 million will be delivered through local authorities (in England) to reduce fuel poverty and support the installation of low carbon heating. £200 million will be made available from September for local authorities to spend before the end of the financial year. Eligible measures include any energy efficiency and heating measures compatible with the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) that will help improve E, F or G rated homes. However, the installation, replacement or repair of existing fossil fuel heating systems are excluded from the scheme.
Low carbon heat installers must be certified under MCS or an accepted equivalent but it contractors installing other measures do not need to be Trustmark registered. The next local authority delivery phase (£300m) for 2021/22 will require Trustmark and, where applicable, PAS 2035:2019 standards.
Commenting on the newly released scheme details Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association, said:
‘The SEA welcomes further details on the Green Homes Grant and the commitment to a fabric first approach. Likewise, given the urgent need to decarbonise heat, it is good to see low carbon heating included as primary measures. With 29 million existing homes, widening eligibility criteria to landlords of social and private-rented housing will make access more equitable, leading to installations in a wider range of building types whilst reflecting the heterogeneity of the UK’s building stock.
Ensuring quality under the new scheme will be vital for ensuring consumer confidence in the scheme and the industry. It is therefore disappointing to see that TrustMark accreditation is not required for local authority projects which also creates regulatory inconsistency between different elements of the grant. Further detail is required to understand how local authorities will maintain robust quality assurance processes given the limited application and delivery window.
Though a positive first step, further funding will be needed to stimulate the market and lower installation costs. The Government also needs to create longer term certainty via legally binding targets on energy efficiency, to give industry and voters confidence that the UK’s homes will be decarbonised.’