Home improvements don’t come cheap but thanks to the government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme, homeowners and landlords in England can receive funding for green home improvements such as installing insulation solutions on walls, floors and roofs or installing solar thermal panels.
As part of the recovery from COVID-19, the government is keen for homeowners to help tackle climate change by carrying out work that will reduce their energy bills and cut carbon emissions. More than 600,000 new homes are set to become more energy efficient and the government says the grants could help to support more than 100,000 jobs.
The Green Homes Grant scheme opens at the end of September 2020 and will allow homeowners in England up to £5,000 of vouchers (£10,000 for the lower income households).
The grants will cover green home improvements including internal wall insulation, external wall insulation and floor or room in the roof insulation. It will also cover the installation of double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating. According to the government, these measures could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.
The Green Homes Grant scheme has been split into primary and secondary measures. You can spend vouchers on these primary measures:
The secondary measures are made up of the following:
If you already have primary measures in place, you can apply for the grant to help improve them. You must apply for at least one primary measure as part of the Green Home Grant to be eligible for funding for the secondary measures.
Example: A homeowner wants to install cavity wall insulation and receives a voucher worth £400 towards the work. They can receive a maximum of £400 more for secondary measures, such as replacing single glazed windows with double glazed windows.
Grants are available for:
New-build properties that have not previously been occupied are not eligible for the scheme.
Most applicants could receive vouchers for up to £5,000, which covers two thirds of the total cost of the property refurbishment. Those on a low-income can apply for grants of up to £10,000 which will cover all of the retrofit costs. A full list of qualifying benefits is available on the Simple Energy Advice website.
You can apply now for the Green Homes Grant and must redeem the voucher and ensure home improvements are completed by 31st March 2022.
2. Once completed, you will receive a personalised energy plan as a first step to getting the Green Homes Grant where you can check which improvements may be suitable for your home.
3. Review your personalised energy plan and estimated costs to choose which improvements you would like to carry out
4. Find accredited tradespeople and get quotes to carry out the work
You’ll need to find accredited tradespeople to get quotes from to carry out the work.
Only experienced and vetted traders approved under the Trustmark scheme can carry out the home improvements.
The Simple Energy Advice website offers homeowners access to fully accredited tradespeople in their area able to carry out the work needed, so they can get quotes ready for when the vouchers become available. You should obtain at least three quotes to ensure you are getting the best value for money.
Saint-Gobain has plenty of expertise when it comes to Green Homes Grant solutions.
They have a range of high performing solutions to help you meet the energy efficiency recommendations as part of the Green Homes Grant scheme.
Saint-Gobain Weber can help with upgrades to the thermal performance and the aesthetics of your home with an external wall insulation system, and British Gypsum can provide internal wall lining for retrofit projects.
PAS 2030 is a Publicly Available Specification that provides information and guidance for installers when retrofitting of dwellings for improved energy efficiency. Contractors carrying out work through the Green Homes Grant must be registered with TrustMark, and that requires certification to PAS 2030.
The specification was created in response to the Each Home Counts (Bonfield) review. This review found that many energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy installations were not being carried out in an optimal way and that, often, there was little or no consideration for what was best for the building or its occupants.
PAS 2030 addressed these concerns, ensuring installers were providing adequate services and giving homeowners peace of mind. To be certified to PAS 2030, contractors must demonstrate adequate training, skills and competence.
In terms of installation, the specification covers installation methods, tools and equipment, the selection of products and material suitability. It also includes requirements for process management and customer service.
PAS 2030 was first published in 2017 and was redeveloped in 2019, with a transition phase that ends in June 2021. This means that contractors with existing certification to PAS 2030:2017 can register with TrustMark to install thermal insulation, new heating controls and other measures through the Green Homes Grant. However, updating your certification to PAS 2030:2019 is recommended sooner rather than later. If a contractor doesn’t currently have PAS 2030 certification, they will need to work towards PAS 2030:2019 for TrustMark status.
Saint-Gobain offers training to help contractors ensure they are meeting the required standards. To find out more or to register for a course, please visit the following sites:
PAS 2030, which provides guidelines for retrofitting dwellings for improved energy efficiency. It was initially published in 2017 and then updated in 2019, so we are currently in a transition phase between the old and new versions.
This means that installers wishing to gain TrustMark approval - and who already had PAS 2030 certification before the launch of the Green Homes Grant - can use whichever version they have already demonstrated compliance with. If an installer was not already certified to one of the PAS 2030 standards before the government scheme was announced, they will need to use the 2019 version.
The transition phase ends in June 2021 and, after that, all contractors will need to be certified to PAS 2030:2019 for TrustMark approval.
PAS 2030 was redeveloped to include a number of new requirements. This means there are now three specifications that you may need to be aware of:
Since the Green Homes Grant is currently scheduled to end in March 2022, installers do not necessarily need to update their PAS certification to carry out work through the scheme - such as the installation of thermal insulation or double-glazing. However, we recommended that all contractors take steps now to update their certification, as it will ensure you’re providing optimal service to your customers and also protecting your business.
Contractors taking part in the Green Homes Grant scheme must be registered with TrustMark. TrustMark is a government-endorsed quality assurance scheme, covering work that consumers may wish to have carried out in or around their home. This has expanded since 2005 to include all repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI), energy efficiency and retrofit measures.
Being TrustMark registered ensures your systems and processes are adequate and up to date and indicates to your customers that you have made a commitment to service, technical competence and trading practices.
To register with TrustMark for performing retrofit work, contractors need to be certified under PAS 2030 - either the 2017 or 2019 version. This will require certification from a UKAS-approved body.
As well as certification to PAS 2030, contractors of specific energy efficiency measures may need additional certification to register with TrustMark. For example, those installing microgeneration measures will need to be certified through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
While TrustMark certification is required for contractors wishing to install thermal insulation as part of the Green Homes Grant scheme, those who keep their registration up to date will continue to enjoy the benefits of TrustMark approval long after the last of the vouchers are issued.
Training from Saint-Gobain can help contractors meet the competence requirements required for gaining those certifications. For more information and updates on the latest training opportunities, visit the following sites:
Contractors can quote for multiple measures on the Green Homes Grant, as long as they are registered through TrustMark to carry out each of those measures. However, the requirement of the scheme is that each measure must be quoted separately, and a separate voucher applied for. So, for example, a contractor can quote for the installation of both external wall insulation and double-glazing.
For more information about what's covered by the Green Homes Grant, read our FAQ: What costs does the Green Homes Grant cover for contractors?
Saint-Gobain offers training to help contractors ensure they can demonstrate compliance with the competence requirements for gaining the certification required for TrustMark approval, and therefore carry out installations through the Green Homes Grant. To find out more or to register for a course, please visit the following sites:
To improve the energy efficiency of the UK housing stock and keep track of the work that has already been carried out, the TrustMark Data Warehouse has been established.
This is a vast repository of information about the energy efficiency of the country’s domestic homes and is the industry-facing side of the Property Hub. The Property Hub is the consumer-facing website that tracks individual homes, giving homeowners information about their property, such as what kinds of improvements have been made in the past - such as the installation of thermal insulation or double glazing.
When carrying out work through the Green Homes Grant, contractors must be sure to lodge all of their work in the Data Warehouse. This is also a requirement of PAS 2035, and any TrustMark-approved installer should be adding relevant details to the system, whether the project is part of the Green Homes Grant scheme or not.
Saint-Gobain offers training to help contractors ensure they are working in compliance with TrustMark requirements. To find out more or to register for a course, please visit the following sites:
Being registered with TrustMark is necessary for contractors wishing to provide services through the Green Homes Grant and other government-funded schemes.
Following the Each Home Counts review the TrustMark scheme was chosen as the route to give homeowners reassurance and protection from rogue traders, and it is the only government-endorsed scheme for domestic trades. However, there are several other benefits that contractors may want to consider, even after the government's voucher scheme has come to an end.
One of the main benefits is that contractors who keep their certification up to date will be listed on the TrustMark website. This will help to make your business visible to new customers who are looking for trustworthy contractors.
Through the training, annual auditing and PAS 2030 compliance required by the scheme, you can be sure that your systems and methods are up to date, and both you and your customers can rest assured that you're providing the best service possible.
The TrustMark scheme also offers other benefits, such as access to financial partners who could provide financing options to your customers. And by keeping your TrustMark registration up to date, you'll be ready for any future government funding schemes.
Contractors seeking TrustMark certification must demonstrate technical competence, robust trading practices and a commitment to customer service. Saint-Gobain offers training to help installers demonstrate compliance with the competency requirements. To register for a course, please visit the following sites:
Designed to help homeowners pay for energy efficiency upgrades, the Green Homes Grant is a voucher scheme funded by the UK government. It was announced in July 2020 and applications opened in September. According to the current timeline, all installations using the grant must be completed by the end of March 2022.
Qualifying homeowners can apply for Green Homes Grant vouchers valued up to £5,000. These vouchers can cover up to two-thirds of the total cost of work. Some lower-income households may be eligible for vouchers of up to £10,000 and which cover up to 100% of the cost of work.
To be eligible for a Green Homes Grant, homeowners must live in England. They must also own their own home (or park home on a residential site) or be a residential landlord in the private or social rented sector.
Green Homes Grant vouchers can be used to pay for specific energy efficiency measures. These include thermal insulation, heating controls and double glazing. Measures have been split into two categories: primary and secondary. At least one installation must be from the primary category, and funding for secondary measures for each home is capped at the value of the primary measures.
More information about the Green Homes Grant scheme can be found at the GOV.UK Green Homes Grants webpage. Contractors looking for additional support, or training to meet the requirements of the scheme, can register with Saint-Gobain.
Also known as Simple Energy Advice, the SEA was developed in conjunction with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It’s a website designed for homeowners, landlords and local authorities, giving them advice on energy efficiency measures such as thermal insulation, heating controls and double glazing from a trustworthy and impartial source.
On the SEA website, you’ll find a thorough guide to the Green Homes Grant, along with a number of other useful resources, such as an eligibility checker, a tool to figure out which energy efficiency improvements are available through the grant, advice on finding a contractor and suggestions for getting a quote.
Saint-Gobain offers a wide range of products that homeowners can have installed through the Green Homes Grant. To find out about the different options, and how they can improve the efficiency of your home, please visit the following sites: