Homeowners in England will be able to get up to £5,000 worth of vouchers to make energy-saving improvements to their properties from September.
Updated 4 August 2020: The government has this week published more information about the upcoming scheme. Energy-efficient home improvements are split into two groups – you have to apply for certain measures in order to get vouchers for others.
More than 600,000 people could benefit from the government’s new proposals, which will pay at least two thirds of the cost of some energy-saving home improvements.
Business and energy secretary Alok Sharma said the scheme will mean ‘hundreds of pounds off energy bills every year’.
Homeowners and landlords will be able to receive the vouchers in late September. The scheme is part of a £3bn investment in green technology to cut carbon emissions.
Head to our guide: insulation costs and savings
Will I be eligible for the energy-saving vouchers?
Homeowners, including owner-occupiers and social and private landlords, can apply for the vouchers.
The vouchers will pay for at least two thirds of eligible measures up to the value of £5,000.
Those on the lowest incomes wouldn’t have to pay anything and could get vouchers of up to £10,000. To qualify, you’ll need to be in receipt of certain benefits.
Which energy saving measures do the vouchers include?
You must install one energy-efficient improvement from the following list to qualify for the vouchers:
- Insulation: solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, under-floor insulation, loft insulation, flat roof insulation, room in roof insulation, park home insulation
- Air source heat pump
- Ground source heat pump
- Solar thermal
You can get top-up insulation (for example if you don’t already have the recommended amount). But the vouchers aren’t valid for replacing existing insulation or low-carbon heating.
You’ll need to have sufficient wall insulation to qualify for low carbon heating.
If you install one of these, you can then get vouchers for a secondary energy-saving measure:
- Double glazing, triple glazing or secondary glazing (only when it is replacing single glazing)
- Energy efficient doors (only if replacing doors installed before 2002)
- Hot water tank thermostat or appliance thermostat
- Hot water tank insulation
- Smart heating controls, zone controls, thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
- Draught proofing
How much could I get in energy-saving vouchers?
The vouchers will pay for at least two thirds of certain energy-saving measures. For example, if you wanted to fit insulation worth £4,000 in your home, you would pay £1,320 and the government would give you a voucher for the remaining £2,680.
But the amount of vouchers you can get for energy-efficient improvements listed in the second group (see above) depends on the amount provided for the first measure.
For example, if you get £1,000 worth of vouchers for insulation, then you would be able to get up to £1,000 towards a secondary measure, such as upgrading to double glazing or draught proofing.
How do I apply for Green Homes Grant vouchers?
You’ll need to complete an online application for one of the recommended home improvements, get a quote from a listed supplier and have that quote approved before getting the voucher to spend.
Later this month, the government’s Simple Energy Advice service will advise homeowners which energy-saving improvements they might be able to get funding for. You’ll then be able to apply for vouchers through its online service. Postal or phone applications will be available if you cannot access the internet.
You will have to choose from a list of registered tradespeople in your area to do the work. Traders must be MCS registered or TrustMark approved to qualify.
Alok Sharma, business and energy secretary, said: ‘Our TrustMark scheme will guarantee that building work is completed to a high standard by accredited tradespeople, ensuring consumers are fully protected’.
TrustMark is a government-endorsed scheme for tradespeople. MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme. It certifies that low-carbon technologies that produce electricity and heat, and those who install them, meet certain quality standards.
Once the works are agreed, you will receive the vouchers. They will be issued from the end of September.
How can you make your home more energy efficient?
There’s still a short wait to take advantage of this government support, and you may not be eligible for the measures that you hoped for. So here are some of the ways to make your home more energy efficient and cut your carbon footprint. Some of them will pay for themselves through savings on your energy bills over several years.
Installing loft insulation could save around £130 per year in energy bills if you live in a semi-detached house and have no insulation already. Topping it up from 120mm to the recommended 270mm could save £10 a year.
If you have single-glazed windows, installing double glazing will reduce noise pollution from outside and help you save money on keeping your home warm – a full double-glazing update can see significant returns on lowered energy bills. It’s an expensive undertaking, though, so the government’s proposed grant could be welcome news if it’s a job you’ve been putting off.
Related: Choose the best type of double glazing for your home.
If your double glazing is draughty, leaking or tricky to open, check our double glazing maintenance and repairs page to see what could be going wrong and how to fix it.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are a significant investment, but once installed they will generate the electricity to power your home some of the time and cut your carbon emissions in the process. Plus, you can get paid to export excess electricity back to the National Grid by the Smart Export Guarantee offered by some energy suppliers.
For more details on the options available, head to our guide to the best solar panel brands as rated by real customers.
When the temperatures turn cooler, stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps can cut up to £20 per year from your bills.
Choose from draught-proofing strips on your window frames, brushes or draught excluders along the bottom of doors, putting foam strips around your loft hatch, fitting keyhole and letterbox covers. Some of these can cost as little as £10 and you can quickly do them yourself. See more tips – and advice on professional work – in our draught-proofing guide.
More energy-saving tips to cut your carbon footprint
- Change your light bulbs to energy-saving bulbs.
- Consider switching to an energy supplier that sells more renewable electricity, or even generates its own. See how to choose the best energy company.
- Choose energy-saving appliances when you next replace your white goods.
- Only boil as much water as you need in your kettle.
- Run washing machines and dishwashers only when they’re full.