Green Homes Grant for Insulation — Worth the Effort?
This page expands on the advice in the December edition of Heatons Post.
The Green Homes Grant is available now. Homeowners and landlords can apply for up to £5,000* of vouchers to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. The eligible “primary insulation measures” include for solid walls, cavity walls, under-floor,
oft spaces, flat roof, and a room in roof. There are also “secondary measures” that include double or triple glazing, heat pumps and other low carbon heating methods.
Details can be found on the Simple Energy Advice website
The scheme has just been extended to 31 March 2022. Is it worth investigating?
The scheme is not straightforward. Quotes must be from scheme contractors approved to take part (Trustmark accredited). The coordination of different elements (the primary and secondary measures) will be for you to sort out. You might have contractual issues, for example coordinating the specifying and installation of double/triple glazed windows with insulation measures. View the small print here.
Our advice is firstly you should ensure you are up to date with your maintenance repairs in the areas you are considering installation before you add energy efficiency measures. You are likely to exacerbate the problem otherwise.
Ideally you should begin with, or already have, a plan for greening your house that the grant can make a contribution to. The truth is that the grant does not go far in most older homes. We also suggest you seek to understand why insulation must be installed with airtightness measures for it to work and why you need to consider your ventilation strategies. See the short story board to help you understand this.
Overall, getting insulation and airtightness installed effectively is not straightforward if you want to get value out of it (whilst reducing bills and your carbon footprint). Do remember it takes time to get quotes, apply to the scheme and get the work done.
Our local Trustmark installers are getting booked up for months ahead, so get started soon.
You might also want to get one or two quotes from local companies who are not registered as installers for the Green Homes Grant. For some of the simpler tasks, such as loft insulation you might find they are still competitive. The reason for this is that at least some of the medium and larger sized companies in the scheme have increased their rates. Local knowledge has examples of increases from 21% to 86%! However, do remember you will not be covered by the Trustmark Guarantee and this means that you do need to understand what you are commissioning and know if it is installed correctly. For example, ensure your newly installed insulation is not blocking ventilation across your loft space which could cause condensation/dampness problems in the future.
So overall, do seriously consider the scheme. It can make a difference and the grant really helps, but our advice is take your time and ensure the measures you want grant for are the best ones for your home and your lifestyle. Insulation measures that are badly installed will not make you warmer. You might find this five minute video of how one couple planned and executed their work using both DIY and contractors helpful (for which thanks to The Carbon Coop).
*If you, or someone in your household, receive certain benefits you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000. Check if you’re eligible for the low income support scheme.