September 1, 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak  announced the £2billion Green Homes Scheme as part of the Government’s efforts to support 100,000 jobs as part of its covid-19 recovery plan. Designed to give 600,000 homeowners in England up to a maximum of £10,000 to install  insulation, heat pumps and draught proofing to help households cut energy bills, the scheme is also available to social/private landlords.

How much can I claim and is there a catch?

The maximum contribution will be £5000 in vouchers  (2/3 of the cost of eligible improvements) unless the customer has a low income, in which case they can claim up to £10,000. In order to access the grant, which is due to go live at the end of  this month (September 2020), suppliers must be accredited by the TrustMark scheme or the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). This is to ensure that homeowners can have confidence in the tradespeople supplying the products and services provided under the terms of the scheme. We have had a number of enquiries from homeowners asking if they can replace their old windows for George Barnsdale high performance timber windows under the scheme and the answer isn’t as straight forward as it first seemed due to a few important caveats:

  • Only single-glazed windows and external entrance doors installed before 2002 qualify so if your windows aren’t over 18 years old or if they are currently double glazed, they don’t qualify
  • Windows and doors qualify as secondary measures which means that homeowners must have a “primary measure” installed before they can qualify
  • The grant towards your windows or doors (secondary measures) can be no more than the grant towards any primary measures. So an £1800 grant for roof insulation will mean you can only get up to £1800 of the remaining grant for the replacement of your 18 plus year old windows
  • If your windows are 25 years old but are double glazed, they are not eligible for replacement under the scheme because only single glazed windows are eligible

What is a primary measure under the scheme?

  • Insulation covering:
    • solid wall insulation
    • cavity wall insulation
    • roof insulation
    • under floor insulation
  • Low carbon heat covering:
    • airsource heat pumps
    • ground source heat pumps
    • solar thermal top-ups

What is a secondary measure under the scheme?

  • Windows covering:
    • replacement of single glazing only not double glazing
    • the installation of secondary glazing rather than replacing single glazing
  • Doors covering:
    • replacement of doors that were installed before 2002
  • Draught Proofing
  • Heating controls and insulation covering:
    • smart heating control and appliance thermostats

What is not covered by the scheme?

So there are a number of hoops to jump through in order to secure the funding and that’s if you can find a supplier qualified under the scheme to carry out the works. According to the Glass and Glazing Federation, in order to comply with the scheme, companies will have to be accredited to PAS2030 and assessors to PAS 20/35 and there are only approximately 5% of companies in the home improvement sector with these accreditations. The GGF is calling for the Government to revisit the scheme to allow companies with a CPS (Competent Person Scheme) like FENSA for windows and doors to be able to carry out the works. In the timescales available, it is going to be very difficult to train tradespeople to the required qualification in time and this is likely to prove a rather large hurdle, never mind a hoop!