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Jul 31

Making the most of the government’s energy-saving home improvement scheme

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From September, the Government will be offering vouchers of up to £5,000 to homeowners in England in a bid to help improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country. The scheme forms part of the Green Homes Grant and eligible homeowners will have the chance to use these vouchers towards the cost of eco-friendly home improvements, from double glazing to wall insulation. 

But what does the grant include and how can you make the most of what it can offer? 


What is the Green Grant and how will it work?

The focus of the government grant will be homeowners in England initially – those who are eligible will be able to use the vouchers towards energy-efficient home improvements. In many cases, the vouchers could cover the majority or all of the cost of these improvements. The Green Homes Grant aims to boost the economy while also making homes around England more energy efficient. 

The vouchers need to be applied for once the scheme is running, from September and should cover around two-thirds of the cost of many improvements up to the value of £5,000 per household

For example, the government has suggested that if you were to fit new insulation in your home at a cost of £4,000, you would only pay around £1,320 and the government scheme would cover the rest of the cost. Depending on the income of your household, you may even be eligible for more so that the vouchers cover all of the cost. Lower-income households could receive vouchers of up to £10,000 and it’s been confirmed that these households will be the priority once the scheme is running. 


What will the grant cover?

The grant will cover ‘green improvements’, such as wall or floor insulation, or loft insulation. The Treasury has noted that greater insulation in your home could save you as much as £600 a year on your energy bills, so it’s a worthy investment. In addition to insulation, the vouchers could cover double glazing, energy-efficiency doors, eco-friendly lightbulbs and more. 

The full list of what will be included in the grant has yet to be released, but many energy-efficient improvements are likely to be covered although new boilers are unlikely to fall under this category. 

If you were looking for a new boiler and central heating system under a grant, the ECO initiative set up by the government to tackle fuel poverty within the UK could provide you with a central heating grant as long as you meet the requirement to qualify.


Ideas for energy-saving home improvements

Energy-efficient upgrades are great for not only making your home warmer but also lowering your energy bills and alleviating problems with damp and mould. One of the best improvements you can make to save energy in your home is to replace your windows and external doors so that they are fully draught-proof. 

“Installing a new garage door can actually make a huge difference to draughty garages”, says Mark Edmonds, Director at Wessex Garage Doors, “modern sectional garage doors can be installed with an insulating core, up to a thickness of 45mm, that gives the optimum efficiency”. 

If you don’t have double glazing already in your home, you’ll be surprised what a difference it may make, not just to your bills but also the sound in your home. Double glazing helps to trap heat inside the property as well as keeping sound out, for the best of both worlds. 

Another option for your voucher is to install insulation to your loft, cavity walls and floors. If you have solid walls, you can still apply internal or external insulation to help warm your home and reduce your energy bills. It can even improve the aesthetic of your home too. Providing there is plenty of ventilation, external insulation can help reduce mould and damp, as well as cutting your heating costs by as much as £200 a year. 


Final thoughts

Renewable energy improvements, such as installing solar panels, may seem like a bigger investment but you’ll be surprised how cost-effective they can be. Solar panels work best on south-facing roofs which have a pitch of around 30 degrees, as this provides optimum results from the sun. Depending on what the government includes in their list of potential options for homeowners, the energy-saving home improvement scheme could help you save a lot of money each year on your bills, as well as helping the planet at the same time. 


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