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Green Homes Grant scrapped: How to make your home eco-friendly for less


Insulating your home can help it stay warmer, save money, and helps the environment (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Despite thousands of applicants, the Government has been forced to scrap the Green Homes Grant after just six months after a series of delays and failures.

But that doesn’t have to leave you out of pocket if you want to make eco-friendly improvements to your house.

While the original Green Homes Grant is no longer open to new applicants, here are some of the ways you can still look to save money on green installation.

Ask to extend your Green Homes Grant voucher

If you already have a Green Homes Grant voucher, you can ask for it to be extended, says Nathalie Rush from insulation expert Six Star Group.

This may give time for your installer to carry out the work you need. The vouchers are valid for 90 days, but can be extended on request for 90 days more.

Check whether you are eligible for the scheme’s successors

The Green Homes Grant has been replaced, to some extent, by schemes run by local authorities, which prioritise those on certain benefits and low incomes.
Check your local authority website for details, or simpleenergyadvice.org.uk to see what is available in your area.

Talk to an energy supplier

Larger energy suppliers are obliged to fund energy efficiency measures for households under a scheme called ECO3.

Funding is only available for those on various benefits, but you do not have to be a customer of the supplier to benefit, so any large supplier should be able to help you if you meet the eligibility criteria. Grants are available for boilers, loft insulation and cavity and solid wall insulation, among other measures.

Your energy supplier should be able to tell you if you are eligible for an ECO3 grant.

Use the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

If you install an air source or ground source heat pump, or solar water heating, you may be eligible for payments from the Government under the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive for seven years.

Discover more about this on the government website, which includes a calculator to show how much you would receive.

Matt Clemow, at Igloo Energy, has launched a new scheme cutting the upfront costs of an air source heat pump by around 50% by accessing this funding in advance rather than over several years.

‘While the Government’s Green Homes Grant was supposed to incentivise people to make green home upgrades, the dream did not live up to the reality. It was too complicated to apply for a voucher, plagued by enormous delays and resulted in very few people getting improvements installed,’ he says.

‘With this scheme, customers can now get an air source heat pump for the same investment as a traditional boiler while also benefiting from a greener
heating solution.’

Shop around for good energy-efficient deals

Without the Green Homes Grant, there will still be installers with capacity for energy-efficient improvements, so it is worth contacting several suppliers to ask for quotes.

How much do eco home-improvements cost?

Work out the costs before you decide what to do (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Below, we show the prices of installation for various eco-home improvements, as well as the potential financial and environmental savings.

Ground source heat pump

Those with large gardens may consider a ground source heat pump. While more expensive to install than an air source pump, it will offer far greater efficiency and bigger savings.

Figures given for four-bed detached house.
Installation cost: £14,000-£19,000
Yearly saving: £25-£30 (if replacing gas boiler); £1,000-£1,090 (if replacing electric boiler)
C02 savings: 3,900-4,100kg pa compared to gas boiler.

Loft insulation

The cheapest and most common form of loft insulation is the rolls of Rockwool, sheep’s wool, glass and mineral fibre.

These can be bought from DIY stores and provided your attic is dry with easy access, you’ll be able to fit this yourself. Rigid insulation boards are also another option, as is blown-in attic insulation, for which you’ll need a specialist.

Figures given for gas-heated semi-detached home.
Installation cost: £240
Yearly saving: £14
C02 savings: 55kg pa

Underfloor heating

The type of insulation used will depend on whether you have a timber or a concrete floor. If it’s timber, solid insulation board or rolls of mineral fibre can be fitted between the joists.

Companies such as Q-Bot can insulate difficult-to-access floor cavities using a floor-insulating robot. If your floor is concrete, you can either insulate over the top of the existing concrete, or underneath a new one.

Figures given for gas-heated semi-detached home.

Installation cost: £520-£1,300
Yearly saving: £50
C02 savings: 350kg pa

Air source heat pump

Air source heat pumps absorb air to heat your home and hot water. While they need electricity to run, they extract renewable heat from the environment and work in temperatures as low as -15C.

Figures given compared with an A-rated gas boiler in a four-bedroom detached house.

Installation cost: £9,000-£11,000
Yearly saving: £95-£100
C02 savings: 2,150-2,250kg pa

Cavity wall insulation

Most homes built after 1990 will already have wall insulation in them, but if your home is older it may have none at all.

A cavity wall is made up of two walls with a gap in between. Cavity wall insulation can normally be fitted by a specialist company, which will inject insulation through holes in the outside walls before sealing with cement. Figures given for gas-heated semi-detached home.

Installation cost: £475
Yearly saving: £165
C02 savings: 680kg pa

Solid wall insulation

Vast amounts of heat can escape through solid walls – up to 45 per cent according to the National Insulation Association – yet a third of the UK’s housing stock is built with single walls.

While solid wall insulation is more expensive to install than cavity wall insulation, the savings are bigger.

Installation cost: External wall insulation is around £10,000;
internal wall insulation is around £8,200
Yearly saving: £225
C02 savings: 930kg pa

Source: Energy saving trust.

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