A Guide To The Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant can cover up to £10,000 worth of costs when making green energy-saving alterations to your home. It forms part of a broader government scheme called the Green Deal that will help the UK to become completely carbon-neutral by 2050. It is common knowledge that a green energy supplier is a great way to lower your household’s carbon footprint. However, with the Green Homes Grant, households can take their energy (and carbon) savings to the next level. In this article, we’ll look closely at the Green Homes Grant. We will cover who is eligible, how you can apply, and what sort of installations and renovations are covered by the grant. If you’ve always wanted to make some renewable improvements to your home but needed some financial help from government energy grants, the Green Homes Grant could be just want you need.
Last update: April 2022

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green homes grant

What is the Green Homes Grant scheme?

The Green Homes Grant scheme is a fairly new government initiative that’s designed to make new energy-efficiency technologies and installations more accessible and affordable. Under the scheme, which has a £2 billion budget, applicants can claim up to two-thirds of eligible energy-saving home improvements. As well as helping UK households to lower their carbon footprint, it is also designed to create jobs and opportunities within the green technology and construction space.

Launched on Wednesday the 30th September 2020, the scheme is available to property owners all over England. Availability for this scheme is limited, and uptake has been tremendous. As of February 2021, there have been over 70,000 applications made. The grant was originally intended to be available until the end of March 2021. The UK government’s department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) hopes that the energy-efficient home improvements facilitated by the grant will help thousands of households to save hundreds of pounds on their energy bills every year.

If you’re a home-owner and want to make green improvements to your home, you’ll need to strike while the iron is hot! Combined with the right energy tariff, which the Papernest team will happily help you to find, you can save a great deal on your energy bills while also preventing tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere every year.

Sound good?

Then read on, and find out more about how you can claim.

Has the Green Homes Grant been axed?

Well… yes and no. The Green Homes Grant was originally intended to end in March of 2021. However, many applicants voiced their frustration with difficulties in claiming the grant with much of the available £1.5 billion pot going unused.

Earlier this year it was expected that the grant would be extended to March of 2022. However, a senior figure in the Construction Leadership Council’s net zero team has clarified that an extension of the Green Homes Grant or an equivalent scheme will be announced as part of the autumn spending review.

What are Green Homes Grant scheme vouchers?

The Green Homes Grant scheme uses vouchers to offset the cost of green home improvements. These are payable to third-party contractors who can then claim the vouchers back from the government for cash.

Green Homes Grant vouchers were first made available in November of 2020.

Has the Green Homes Grant been discontinued?

There was much distress among eco-conscious homeowners at the start of 2020. As new applicants scrambled to get their Green Homes Grant vouchers, government-approved contractors found that their books were filling up fast. As a result, many worried that they wouldn’t be able to get their green installations carried out in time to meet the March 2021 deadline.

Thankfully, after much pressure from within, as well as environmental groups, the government has announced that an equivalent scheme will be launched in Autumn.

However, there’s a caveat here.

While many rejoiced that the scheme would be extended, they would soon realise that time was still against them. Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan revealed that the original £2 billion in funding could only to be used in the 2020/2021 financial year. What’s more, additional funding would be slashed by over 1.5 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year.

Only £320 million of funding has been set aside for the scheme for this financial year. This means that if you’re a new applicant, you’ll need to get your skates on. While you have plenty of time in which to find a contractor to complete the work, you’ll need to ensure that you apply as soon as possible before the allocated funding dries up.

£320 million sounds like a lot. But with applicants claiming up tp £10,000 (£5,000 for most) in Green Homes Grant vouchers per household, the funds won’t be around for much longer.

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Am I eligible for the Green Homes Grant?

The Green Homes Grant can significantly offset the cost of green household renovations, covering up to 66% of the cost.

But who is eligible for the Green Homes Grant? We’ll look at who can apply for the Green Homes Grant before segueing into an overview of the application process. So you won’t waste a minute in getting the support you need.

Who qualifies for the Green Homes Grant ?

The Green Homes Grant is available to all home-owners in England. No matter the age of your home, you can apply for the grant. The only exceptions to this are new-build and self-built homes. However, these will be built to a higher energy-saving standard than properties that are decades old. So newly built homes would be less likely to benefit from green improvements anyway.

Green Homes Grant eligibility for landlords

The Green Homes Grant is available to both owner-occupiers and private landlords. As long as you own the property, you’re free to make green alterations that are covered by the Green Homes Grant. We’ll look at exactly which alterations are and are not covered by the grant later on in this post.

Green Homes Grant eligibility for tenants

Tenants cannot apply directly for the Green Homes Grant. But that doesn’t mean that private tenants can’t benefit from making energy-efficient renovations to their rental homes. If you live in a privately rented home, it may be worth contacting your landlord to see if they are aware of the Green Homes Grant. They may be receptive to making an application for your property. Especially if you are able / willing to make a contribution to the remaining third of the cost that is not covered by the grant.

Making an application can benefit your landlord in a number of ways:

  • It improves the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.
  • It makes the property more cost-effective to manage.
  • It keeps you (a happy tenant who pays their rent on time) in the property for longer
  • It makes the property more appealing to tenants when you move on and they need to put it back on the market.

Green Homes Grant eligibility checker

If you’re at all unsure about whether you’re eligible to claim or how much you can claim, the government has an eligibility tool. Just Click Here to use this.

What can the Green Homes Grant be used for?

Before we look into how to apply for the Green Homes Grant, we need to look at what exactly the grant can cover. After all, there’s no point making grand plans to install PV solar panels or domestic wind turbines, only to find out that these aren’t covered by the grant. Which, spoiler alert, they are not.

In fact, there are no energy-generating installations that are covered by the Green Homes Grant. Although this will be frustrating news for those who really want to install solar panels, we urge you not to rage-click away from this post just yet.

There are still lots of great green renovations that are covered by the grant that could benefit your home, resulting in hundreds of pounds in potential savings on your energy bills every year.

Still with us? Great! Let’s break down the different kinds of renovations for which you can make a claim to the Green Homes Grant.

Primary and secondary improvements explained

The renovations that fall into the Green Homes Grant fall into two categories. These are called Primary Improvements and Secondary Improvements.

Primary improvements are those that result in either low-carbon heating or improved insulation for your home. Secondary improvements are designed to help you to capitalise on the heating savings made with your primary improvements.

If you want to make both primary and secondary improvements, it’s essential that you factor them into your budget. Secondary improvements need to be funded from the same “pot” as the primary improvements, and you cannot get secondary improvements without first making primary improvements.

As such, if the grant makes up more than £2,500 (£5,000 for those who meet certain criteria) of the cost of your primary improvements, you’ll have less money free to spend on your secondary improvements.

What are primary improvements?

Anything that helps you to generate low-carbon heating or improves your insulation counts as a primary improvement. Some key examples of primary improvements for heating are as follows:

  • Solar thermal heaters.
  • Ground or air source heat pumps.
  • Hybrid heat pumps.
  • Biomass boilers.

Primary improvements to do with insulation include the following:

  • Loft or roof insulation.
  • Cavity wall insulation.
  • Solid wall insulation.
  • Underfoot insulation.
  • Park home insulation.

What are secondary improvements?

Again, it’s not possible to make secondary improvements without first making primary improvements, so it’s important to budget accordingly if you intend to make both kinds of renovations.

Secondary improvements are designed to help you to capitalise on the energy savings from your primary improvements. As such, they encompass quite a range of home improvements including:

  • Double or triple glazing (although conditions apply here).
  • Energy-efficient doors.
  • Improving draughtproofing.
  • Assign controls and insulation for heating appliances (e.g. adding a new smart thermostat, or thermostatic radiator valves. Adding water tank insulation is also covered).

Does the Green Homes Grant cover double glazing?

The Green Homes Grant can cover double glazing, but only if your home currently only has single-glazing.

The British Fenestration Ratings council recognises that not all double glazing installations are created equal. Double glazed windows could be rated anywhere from grade A++ to grade C. Unfortunately, however, you cannot use the Green Homes Grant to replace double glazed windows with a more heat-efficient equivalent.

Likewise, you can only replace doors using the Green Homes Grant if your original doors were fitted before 2002.

Does Green Homes Grant cover boilers?

The Green Homes grant is dedicated to making low-carbon heating options viable for ordinary and low-income households. It’s about gradually reducing our reliance on fossil fuels like natural gas. Of course, the Papernest team can help you find an energy plan that uses green biomethane gas or carbon-offset gas. But the Green Homes Grant is about helping you to find an alternative way to heat your home.

As such, you can’t get a new gas boiler through the Green Homes Grant. However, you may be able to leverage the grant to offset the cost of a biomass boiler. These work by burning renewable-sourced wooden pellets instead of fossil fuels. This helps to combat the problem of wood waste, of which the UK produces around 8.5 million tonnes per year. These pellets cost around 2.9p per kWh to heat your home, as opposed to natural gas which costs an average of 4.8p per kWh.

However, biomass boilers are very large, which may make them prohibitive for many households. Investing money from the grant into a ground or air source heat pump may be more cost effective. These work by drawing heat from the ambient air, or deep below the ground. Alternatively, solar thermal heating uses solar heat which is collected by copper pipes in a panel on your rooftop. This can be used to heat your water for washing or bathing, as well as heating your living space.

How much could I really save on my energy bills with the Green Homes Grant?

Home improvements made with the Green Home Grant scheme can substantially lower your household’s carbon footprint. But let’s be honest. The priority of most households is to save money. And while the old adage that it takes money to make money is true, it also takes money to save money.

The modest investment that you make in giving your home a source of low-carbon heating as well as improved insulation can make your home much more energy-efficient. Thus, you will find that you are far less reliant on energy from the national grid.

The net result of this, of course, is years of savings for your household. In the table below, we’ve detailed the potential annual savings that can come from various primary and secondary improvements covered by the Green Home Grant scheme. Figures based on UK averages for a for a semi-detached gas-heated house.

But how much could you really save on your bills with installations part-funded by the Green Homes Grant?

Let’s take a look.

Heating bill savings listed in the table below are based on replacing a storage heating system with an off-peak Economy 7 rate of 9.76p per kWh. They also assume a Renewable Heat Incentive tariff of 10.74p per kWh.

We know that the Ofgem energy price cap is set to rise in April 2021, and thus energy prices are expected to climb throughout the year. So while these potential annual savings are accurate at the time of writing, they could become even greater as the year goes on.

Home Improvement Type Potential Annual Savings
Ground / air source heat pumps £690
Double glazing £85
Underfoot / floor insulation £45
Solid wall insulation £225
Cavity wall insulation £165
Loft insulation £150
Water tank insulation £90
Pipe insulation £4
Floor draughtproofing £30
Chimney draughtproofing £20
Window and door draughtproofing £25

What is the application process for the Green Homes Grant?

If you own your own home, and have a good idea of which renewable home improvements you’d like to make, you’re likely raring to go and start your application. Especially since you know that time is a factor. But what is the application process for the grant? How much can you claim for? And is there any help available for funding the remaining 33% of the work carried out?

Join us on our set-by-step guide to…

Making a Green Homes Grant Application

The first step in making an application to the Green Homes Grant is to decide conclusively what green renovations and installations you want to make. You may need to do a little homework before committing to an installation. For example, there’s no point working out a budget to install a biomass boiler if your home is too small to comfortably admit one. Likewise, the last thing you want is to budget for new windows as a secondary improvement if you already have double glazing, as double glazed windows will only be approved for funding if you only have single-glazed windows.

Once you have worked this out, you’re almost ready to make an application to claim your funding.

The easiest way to do this is to complete an online application form, which is available through the government’s Simple Energy Advice service. You can also apply over the phone by calling 0300 131 005. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm over the weekends. If you have a query, you can submit it by filling out a contact form on the Green Homes Grant Service government website.

Before you submit your application, however, you’ll need to get some quotes from accredited traders in your area.

How much can you get with the Green Homes Grant?

Most homeowners can apply for up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the cost of green household renovations. However, those in receipt of certain benefits can get up to £10,000 and 100% of their costs covered.

Again, it’s important to factor in the relative cost of your intended primary and secondary improvements. The more you spend on the former, the less you’ll have to spend on the latter.

Remember that you will need to cover the cost of 33% of these renovations yourself, and this should be factored into your budget.

Is the Green Homes Grant means-tested?

Yes and no. Any homeowner or landlord can apply for the £5,000 in vouchers under the Green Homes Grant. However, those requesting up to £10,000 in vouchers to cover up to 100% of the cost of green installations will need to be in receipt of certain income-related benefits.

This could mean your household if you qualify for one or more of the following:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Attendance Allowance Carer’s Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Contribution-based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Housing Benefit

How to get the green homes grant approved

Since the amount of money available to households claiming the Green Homes Grant is finite, time is certainly of the essence. You’ll want to make sure that your grant is approved as quickly and decisively as possible.

This means avoiding all the application errors and oversights that could delay approval of your grant.

Administration of the scheme requires what the government calls “robust fraud and gaming checks”. In order to prevent people gaming the grant at the expense of the taxpayer, applications may require a lot of supporting information. If your application is found to be lacking in information, they may request more from you. This could potentially slow down the process keeping you one step further away from your vouchers.

Common reasons why the scheme’s administrators request more information from applicants include:

When the applicant submits quotes that are higher than expected.
When there is little or no paperwork submitted.
When incorrect paperwork is submitted.
When the type of work requested is not covered by the Green Homes Grant scheme.

Basically, the more thorough you are in your application, the better your chances of getting approved quickly the first time around. It’s also a good idea to get quotes from multiple TrustMark approved or MCS registered traders in order to make sure that the quotes you send for the work are reasonable.

green homes grant

How long does it take to get approval

There’s no set time for grant applications to get approved and for your vouchers to arrive. In some cases, vouchers may arrive in the post in a matter of weeks. Some, however, have found that they wait months for their vouchers to arrive.

This can lead to frustration, especially when traders get more and more booked up as other applicants receive their vouchers.

The more thorough and comprehensive you are in your application, the greater your likelihood of getting your vouchers promptly.

The Green Homes Grant process

Once you’ve wrapped your head around the application form, the Green Homes Grant process is fairly straightforward. We can break it down into the following.

Getting a quote

Getting a quote (or several) is the first important step. When getting quotes you need to use traders who are TrustMark approved or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) registered. To be on the safe side, your best bet is to look for a trader near you using the government Simple Energy Advice Service’s search tool.

It’s a good idea to get two or three quotes to ensure that there are no huge discrepancies between the figures quoted. A quote that is suspiciously high may delay your application. It’s important to factor in your own contribution to the installation and ensure that it is affordable.

Making your application

Once you’ve decided on the work that needs to be done, and retrieved a reasonable quote, you’re ready to fill out your application form. When filling this out, you’ll need to keep the following information close to hand:

  • Your name and date of birth. If your property is co-owned by your partner or spouse, you’ll need to include their name and date of birth as well.
  • The name and date of birth of anyone who lives with you and is in receipt of the income-based benefits mentioned above.
  • A quote for work to be carried out from an approved TrustMark or MCS registered trader.
  • Your chosen trader’s TrustMark licence number.

Getting the work done

Once your application has been approved, your vouchers will be sent to you either via email or (if you requested this) in the post. You will receive one voucher for each improvement you claim for (i.e. your primary and secondary improvements).

As tempting as it may be to book work in before these arrive, you’ll need to hold off on committing to anything until you have them. Otherwise, traders could arrive at your doorstep ready to carry out the work, and you’ll have no means of paying them. Any work that is carried out before the voucher is issued cannot be claimed for.

After the work is done

Once the work has been carried out, you’re ready to redeem your voucher. But you still have some administrative steps to take to ensure that everything else goes smoothly.

Your trader will issue you with an invoice that details your contribution to the work. This is paid to them directly.

To successfully redeem your voucher, it’s important to check that:

  • All installations were completed before the expiry date on your voucher.
  • You have received the invoice and any other necessary documents from the trader.
  • Your contribution to the installation costs has been paid to the trader carrying out the installation.
  • You meet all the appropriate eligibility requirements.

Redeeming the voucher

As long as you’ve carried out the checks above, redeeming your voucher is easy. You will need a dated copy of the invoice for your contribution in order to redeem the voucher. This ensures that you haven’t used the voucher to pay for more than two-thirds of the work.

After you redeem your voucher with the installing trader, the grant is be paid directly to them on your behalf by the government.

Are there any additional costs that I need to think about?

There may be instances where a primary or secondary improvement may related supplementary costs. For instance, you may need to hire structural engineers, waste removal services, or scaffolding contractor costs. You may also need to make improvements to your ventilation or pipework while making your primary installation. Fortunately, Green Homes Grant vouchers can also be used to cover up to two thirds of these costs. Just make sure you factor this into your quotes, and that the grant’s contribution to all work carried out does not exceed £5,000 (£10,000 if you receive the qualifying benefits).

Can I still apply for the Renewable Heating Incentive with the Green Homes Grant?

Not every household can comfortably afford to make 33% of the contributions towards green energy home improvements, even with the help of the grant.

The good news is that applying for the Green Homes Grant does not mean that you’re unable to apply for other incentives like the Renewable Heat Incentive. Indeed, over time, the quarterly contributions from this can help to offset the cost of green installations and enhance your savings on your energy bills.

Nonetheless, applicants need to go about making applications in a specific way if they want to apply for both forms of support.

First of all, applicants need to apply for the Green Homes Grant voucher and use it to make whatever primary improvements they think are best suited to their homes. Only when these new installations have been put in place and the vouchers have been redeemed to cover two thirds of the costs, can applicants then apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive.

The scheme is open to any homeowner who has a renewable heating installation in their property, no matter how much of the cost they contribute themselves. This is, however, the reason why installations need to be up and running before you can apply.

Where is the Green Homes Grant available?

The Green Homes Grant is available to all homeowners in England. Again, you don’t necessarily have to be an owner-occupier to benefit from the scheme. It is also available to landlords. Private tenants can, and should, encourage their landlords to consider participating in this scheme as it is mutually beneficial for both parties.

Can I get the Green Homes Grant in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

Unfortunately not. The Green Homes Grant Scheme is only available to households in England. At the time of writing there are no equivalent schemes available for homes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Combine savings from the Green Homes Grant with savings from a new energy supplier

The installations facilitated by the Green Homes Grant are an awesome way to save money on your energy bills for years to come. Especially when they’re supplemented by other initiatives like the Renewable Heat Incentive.

What’s more, you could potentially save around £300 per year on your energy bills just by switching suppliers regularly.

The Papernest team can find you the best value energy plan for your needs and usage. Including 100% renewable energy plans and tariffs that use green or carbon offset-gas. We can even manage your switch from end-to-end, bringing you cheaper, greener energy hassle-free.

What are you waiting for? Give us a call on 0330 818 6225 and take your savings to the next level.

We’re available from 8am to 6pm.

Would you like to know more about government energy grants? Great! Check out these related articles:

  1. Warm Home Discount
  2. Cold Weather Payment
  3. Winter Fuel Payment

Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

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FAQ

Can I get a Green Homes Grant boiler?

Unfortunately, the Green Homes Grant scheme is all about making low-carbon heating installations more accessible. As such, gas boilers are not covered by the scheme. You can, however, install a biomass boiler with the scheme if your home is large enough to permit one.

Can I get solar panels with the Green Homes Grant?

Alas, no. Solar panels are a way to generate renewable energy, rather than a renewable heating or insulation project. You can, however, install solar water heaters under the scheme.

Is the Green Homes Grant available across the UK?

The Green Homes Grant is only available to homeowners and landlords in England.

How do I apply for the green home grant scheme?

You can fill out an application form via the government’s Simple Energy Advice website. You will need to include a quote from an approved trader. Once your application has been approved you will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for ⅔ of the cost of the installation.

Can private tenants apply for the Green Homes Grant?

While the scheme isn’t available to private tenants, they can still request that their landlord look into making an application for the Green Homes Grant. This benefits both the tenant by providing cheaper energy bills and the landlord by making the property more desirable and (at least potentially) higher in value.

Can I get the Renewable Heat Incentive if I use the Green Homes Grant?

Yes. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can (and should) apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) as well as applying for the Green Homes Grant. The only caveat is that you will need to wait until your installation is complete and up & running before you apply for the RHI.

Updated on 24 Jan, 2022

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