Government Green Homes Grant Scheme
26 October 2020
Introduced in July 2020 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the Green Homes Grant scheme looks to help over 650,000 homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their property.
So, what exactly is the Green Homes Grant?
This Government initiative is aimed at cutting fossil fuel costs by helping fund Insulation works to vulnerable areas within properties. Assistance is also given with installing low carbon heating measures where practical as well as a host of secondary measures to help save energy. It is estimated that the scheme is the carbon cutting equivalent of taking 270,000 cars off the road.
The Government Green Homes Grant is an energy saving grant available to all homeowners and private landlords in England.
The grant is made available in the form of a voucher that provides a grant of up to 2/3rds of the cost of hiring tradespeople to upgrade the energy efficiency within homes. The maximum contribution is £5000, increasing to a maximum of £10000 for those on lower incomes.
To avoid any confusion as to what energy efficient upgrades are covered under the scheme, the government have laid down some clear guidelines.
What is Covered in Green Homes Grant?
Areas that are covered are split in to 2 key areas: Primary Measures and Secondary Measures.
Primary Measures: These include the provision of insulation to walls/floors/cavity walls/flat roofs etc as well as the installation of low carbon heat measures such as air or ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers.
Secondary Measures: These include draught proofing works, double or triple glazing, energy efficient doors, hot water tank thermostats etc
The grant for the Secondary measures cannot exceed the cost of the Primary Measures and you cannot apply for the grant if you only require Secondary Measures installing.
Put simply: You must have Primary Measures installed first to be eligible for Secondary Measures to be covered by the Green Homes Grant. Full details on what you can and cannot use the voucher for can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme
What are the Implications of the Green Homes Grant to the Homeowner/Private Landlord?
The concept of helping property owners insulate their property via a grant sounds appealing. However, there is a potential underlying danger that must be considered.
Installing insulation to, or within buildings with any underlying defects such as dampness, mould, woodworm infestation and wet or dry rot will only exacerbate these problems.
Structural issues such as cracks caused by movement and the condition of cavity wall ties will not be fixed by covering them up.
Insulation is designed to reduce the rate of uncontrolled air movement through a building very significantly. This has the effect of preventing BOTH the escape of heat and just as importantly, moisture and stale air from the occupied building. Put simply, it can lead to condensation issues occurring as moisture laden air becomes trapped in the property because of poor ventilation.
Helping keep COVID-19 at bay: Added benefits to mechanical ventilation
Having good ventilation within a property not only protects against dampness (condensation) but it is also key to helping reduce the spread of unwanted germs and viruses such as COVID-19. A constant flow of fresh, clean air into the property helps minimise the amount of stale, germ laden air within the property.
The Dangers of Insulating a Damp Property
Poor ventilation in a property can cause a moisture imbalance that, in turn, can lead to rot, mould, deterioration of wall finishes and decoration as well as a less healthy environment for the occupants.
It is therefore essential that a building is in good condition BEFORE it’s insulated. The only way to know for certain is by getting the building checked out/inspected before engaging in any retrofit insulation works. This way you can ensure that the fabric of the building is in good condition and that any repairs that are necessary are undertaken before the Insulation is applied and hides, for a short while, the buildings secrets.
The cost of having a specialist damp surveyor visit the property and provide a report prior to the installation of cavity wall insulation is be covered by the voucher. If any ventilation or damp works are required, this is classed as ‘reasonable enabling work to support the retrofit’ and is also covered by the Green Homes Grant scheme.
How Can I use a Green Homes Grant? – Examples:
As with all government legislation it can be tricky to understand exactly what is covered and what is not covered by the scheme. Currently there are many ‘grey’ areas which require further clarity. Below though are some real-life examples of how the Grant can be used:
1) If you have a property where you are wishing to install cavity wall/solid wall insulation but already suffer with condensation within the property your Green Homes Grant voucher could also be used to have a survey carried out by a damp specialist and then improve the controlled ventilation in the property to alleviate the condensation issue in the property prior to the installation of cavity wall insulation. THIS WOULD BE COVERED BY THE GREEN HOMES GRANT
2) Prior to installing cavity wall/solid wall insulation as a Primary Measure you may require a damp survey to confirm that there is no dampness present that could lead to issues occurring further down the line. THIS WOULD BE COVERED BY THE GREEN HOMES GRANT
3) If you have an existing damp issue because of a failing/non-existent damp proof course and require a new damp course injecting and replastering to walls that ARE subject to receiving insulation works. THIS WOULD BE COVERED BY THE GREEN HOMES GRANT
4) If you have an existing damp issue because of a failing/non-existent damp proof course and require a new damp course injecting and replastering to walls that are NOT receiving insulation works. THIS WOULD NOT BE COVERED BY THE GREEN HOMES GRANT
To find out if work you are wanting to carry out is covered by the scheme please visit the government website
Taking advantage of the Green Homes Grant
Green Homes Grant vouchers can be applied for now via the Government website. Currently the voucher and any improvements must be completed by 31 March 2021.
If you are looking to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant, we would strongly recommend you carry out the following prior to installing insulation:
- It is vitally important that you get your property checked for dampness prior to any retrofit insulation works being carried out.
- Repairing and treating dampness as well as improving controlled ventilation is also covered by the Green Homes Grant voucher where it is deemed to be necessary works to support the installation of primary and secondary measures.
What should I do next?
If you need to arrange for a damp specialist to survey your property prior to the installation of a primary measure available on the Green Homes Grant get in touch. Timberwise are TrustMark and Property Care Association approved and as such make our expertise available to you.
We have damp specialists across the UK and arranging a survey can be done by completing the form on this page or by calling 0800 288 8660.