The Green Homes Grant scheme, one of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s flagship Covid economic recovery measures, opened in September 2020 for an initial six months. It has now been given 18 months.
The government has allocated £2bn for the scheme, which gives homeowners a £5,000 grant to fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvement works that aid energy efficiency, such as insulation, double glazing or heat pumps.
However, there are hoops to jump through. To qualify for a grant, the work can only be done by a tradesperson or busines that is both TrustMark registered and has either Microgeneration Certification Scheme or Publicly Accessible Standards certification. Most potential installers have not signed up to these schemes, so access to the grants is somewhat limited for homeowners.
Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry said: “The extension of the Green Homes Grant for another year is very positive news, and shows that builders’ concerns have been listened to. This will give the reassurance needed to the building industry to invest in the scheme. Our existing homes contribute 20% of all our carbon emissions and consume 35% of our energy.”
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “It’s great news that the Green Homes Grant has been extended because the pandemic harmed its rolling out. By March 2022, there will be thousands more installers and many more techniques to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, so we must view this scheme as a first step to retrofitting Britain’s homes and buildings.”
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) said more needed to be done to ensure the scheme has any meaningful impact on the UK’s housing stock and called for a national retrofit strategy.
BMF chief executive John Newcomb said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant deadline following feedback from members that more time was required to allow people to plan their improvements and source a registered trader to undertake the work.
“While it is excellent news that the grant scheme has been extended, it cannot be a one-off initiative if the government is to achieve its aims both to improve energy efficiency and level up housing conditions throughout the country.
“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a national retrofit strategy that would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.”
“We are presented with an enormous opportunity to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in both homes and workplaces. If we can link this to a national retrofit strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”