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The new government subsidy to make your home more energy efficient is now available.

** UPDATE 18/11/20 – The grant has been extended until March 2022 **

Announced back in the summer, the Green Homes Grant gives homeowners access to free cash to do things like add insulation or get double glazing.

There’s up to £10,000 available per household – but most people won’t get anywhere near that much and they’ll have to pay for part of the work themselves.

And there are restrictions on what the money can be used for, as well as a short amount of time to get it all sorted.

Here’s how they work and how you can get one. Plus how to work out if it’s worth it.

Rather watch than read? Or both? Here’s my video on whether the Green Home Grants is worth it

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How much money could you get?

The grant covers two-thirds of the cost of improvements, and you’ll pay the rest. There’s also a cap on the amount the government will give you, set at £5,000. So if the work costs more than £7,500 you’ll be contributing a larger proportion.

The only exception is for those receiving qualifying benefits who might be able to get 100% of the costs covered, up to an increased cap of £10,000.

How much money will you save?

Getting your home to be energy efficient isn’t just about the climate crisis and wasting less energy – it could also help you reduce your energy bills.

Though the government says it could be £600 off your annual bills, it really depends on what you get done, and what state your home is in before.

The Simple Energy Advice website (part run by the government) has a calculator to help you work out what different measures could do.

You’ll be given a rough idea of the cost of the improvements and the annual savings. Plus you can expand the details to see the life span of the change and the rough break even point.

For example, fitting solar panels (not something you can pay for with the grant) would be around £6,500 and take 21 years before the savings on bills would cover that outlay.

You need to give a few details about your home, but it’s not the most flexible. For example, our house has some single glazed old sash windows and some double glazed windows, but I could only choose one option or the other. Still, it’s a useful way to see if changes are worth it.

Who is eligible for the Green Home Grant?

For a start you need to live in England and own your home. You also can’t use it for a new-build if you’re the first people to live there.

Landlords can take advantage, though there are minimum standards you need to meet.

But if you rent you can’t get any funds – you’ll have to encourage your landlord to do it.

There might also be restrictions if you already get other energy based grants, so check the conditions if you think that could apply.

What can you use the grant for?

It’s not as simple as getting the money and then using it to improve things. There are only certain improvements that are eligible -and they’re split into “primary” and “secondary” measures.

You must use for at least one change from the primary list. This includes:

  • solid wall insulation
  • cavity wall insulation
  • under-floor insulation
  • loft insulation
  • roof insulation
  • air source heat pump
  • ground source heat pump
  • solar thermal
  • biomass boiler
  • hybrid heat pump

Once you’ve done this you can also claim to cover something from the secondary list. But the amount available for these is the same as you had for the primary improvement. And again it’s capped at two-thirds of the cost, and there’s the combined maximum of £5,000.

On this secondary measures list are:

  • draft proofing
  • double / triple glazing to replace single glazing windows or doors
  • hot water tank thermostat or insulation
  • heating controls, including smart devices

You can use the vouchers to cover the materials as well as the labour. Plus it can cover an VAT you’re charged. There’s a full list of what you can and can’t use the money for on the Gov.uk website.

Getting a Green Homes Grant voucher

Before applying you need to get a quote from a Green Homes Grant registered builder/plumber etc. You can search on the Simple Energy Advice site.

You’ll use the quote to apply, though the application site says if the quote is too high you’ll be asked to get another one.

Once you’ve got your quotes you can apply online. You’ll need the property owner’s name and date of birth, and the same again for any resident with qualifying benefits. Then along side the quote you’ll need the installers TrustMark Licence Number.

If you’re looking to get more than one improvement covered by the grant by different contractors, you’ll need different quotes for each one. But you apply for all the work in the same application.

Using your Green Homes Grant voucher

If successful you’ll be given a voucher to use, or more than one if there’s different jobs.

Only then can the work start. When it comes to paying you’ll need to confirm to the government that it’s been completed and meets set criteria. Then they’ll pay the builder directly for that part of the grant, and you’ll pay the rest yourself.

The work also needs to be completed by 31st March 2021 – which doesn’t leave much time!