The UK Government’s Green Homes Grant announcement – what it means for you

This month the UK government’s economic and finance ministry announced that a £2 billion fund providing grants for home energy improvements work would be set up by September 2020, offering homeowners vouchers to undertake retrofit work.

There have been limited details of the scheme released, so it’s difficult to know exactly how it will work at this point. However, we do know that there’s a short time scale involved, with it looking like the scheme will open in September 2020 and close in March 2021. With that in mind, if you are thinking about taking advantage of the scheme to make any home improvements, it’s worth starting to think about it now.

How to get started with your home retrofit today

The information so far suggests that homeowners will be asked to submit online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures – and a voucher will not be issued until a contractor has issued a quote and work has been approved.

Luckily for you, we can help you get prepared for this in advance! Cosy Homes Oxfordshire is a one-stop home retrofit service, which the Low Carbon Hub are one of three project partners on – and we can help you get ahead of the game.

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire’s focus is on whole house retrofit, as it’s the most efficient and thorough approach to retrofitting. This means that we assess your whole house to identify bespoke recommendations for energy efficiency improvements, shared with you as a Whole House Plan. If you choose to go ahead, we’ll act as project manager throughout – sourcing you quotations from our pool of trusted contractors and suppliers, managing the work, and checking quality at the end of the process.

It’s unclear whether the vouchers under the Green Homes Grant will be able to be spent only on certain retrofit measures, but by registering your home with Cosy Homes Oxfordshire you’ll have everything you need to get started as soon as the scheme begins in September – no matter what the details turn out to be.

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire could help you get ahead of the game. Register your home with us today and we can help you identify the areas of your home that need improvement through our Whole House Plan service.

Does the Green Homes Grant go far enough?

Whilst at the Low Carbon Hub and Cosy Homes Oxfordshire we welcome the Treasury’s announcement, we do hope it will be the start of be a concerted effort to improve the energy efficiency of the entire UK housing stock, because it’s clear that we need to go further than this scheme suggests.

The UK has climate change targets of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. If we are serious about meeting those targetsthen we cannot ignore the impact of our existing housing stock, much of which is old and inefficient. That means that we need to retrofit millions of homes, and to do this we need a nationwide scheme backed by the government.

The New Economics Foundation recently released a reporrt and proposal for what such a nationwide retrofit scheme could look like. Their research found that a four-year government-led programme where 9 million UK homes received whole-house retrofit measures was entirely feasible, and would result in savings of around 15% of our total domestic energy demand. That represents carbon emissions savings of approximately 19.23MtCO2/​year by 2023/​24, or 21% of 2019 emissions from the UK’s homes.

This proposed programme would also create an average of 294,527 new jobs every year between 2020 and 2023/4 to deliver the work – and with the need to provide economic stimulus following Covid-19, that’s more important than ever.

The NEF report makes it clear that, though it may be a good start, the UK government needs to go further with their proposed retrofit scheme and create a programme such as the model NEF are proposing.

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