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The government’s Green Homes Grant scheme: What tradespeople need to know

Last updated: 19th November 2020

The Green Homes Grant is part of the green measures initiative that was announced by the government on 8th July 2020, which is worth £3 billion overall. The scheme offers vouchers to homeowners with the aim of helping over 600,000 homes in England become more energy-efficient. From the research we did late last year, we know that twice as many homeowners are planning eco-friendly improvements in 2020 compared to 2019. This government incentive should help make sure that COVID-19 doesn’t stop homeowners from making those changes that will reduce their energy bills, provide work for tradespeople, and make progress on the UK’s net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target.

As of 30th September, the government Green Homes Grant scheme 2020 is now open for applications.


FAQs

  1. What is the Green Homes Grant scheme?
  2. What jobs are available through the Green Homes Grant?
  3. Which green home improvements and services aren’t covered by the grant?
  4. Can I still complete Green Homes Grant work whilst the National Restrictions for coronavirus are in place?
  5. How do I register to complete work under the Green Homes Grant scheme?
  6. What do I need to include in my quotes for Green Homes Grant work?
  7. How will I get paid through the Green Homes Grant scheme?
  8. How do homeowners apply for the new government grant?
  9. Which homeowners are eligible for the Green Homes Grant 2020?
  10. Are there extra Green Homes Grant requirements for landlords?
  11. Is there any green work available for tradespeople in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?
  12. What are the benefits of the UK Green Homes Grant scheme 2020?
  13. Can I ask the homeowner to pay a deposit?
  14. When can I start Green Homes Grant work?
  15. What documents do I need to give the homeowner once the work’s complete?
  16. Can homeowners complete Green Homes Grant work themselves?
  17. Can homeowners use the government grant to claim money back for green upgrades have been completed in their home before the grant came into place?
  18. What if the homeowner’s already claiming other government grants or other funding?
  19. How do I get involved with the Green Homes Grant scheme now?

What is the Green Homes Grant scheme?

Cross section of roof showing insulation inside

Homeowners and landlords will be provided with a voucher worth up to £5,000, or £10,000 for low income households, to pay towards installing energy-saving home improvements. The voucher will cover at least two thirds of the cost of labour, materials and VAT for the work. 100% of the cost is covered for low income households, up to £10,000.

What jobs are available through the Green Homes Grant?

To be eligible for funding, households will need to install at least one of the two following primary measures using the grant:

1. Insulation, for:

  • Solid walls (internal or external).
  • Cavity walls.
  • Under floor (solid floor or suspended floor).
  • Loft.
  • Flat roof.
  • Pitched roof.
  • Room in roof.
  • Park home.

If a homeowner chooses to install external solid wall insulation, then they must have all suitable space on the wall insulated. Similarly, if they choose to have internal solid wall insulation installed, they must insulate all external-facing space in the room.

If a home’s already partially insulated, then the owner can use the government green grant to insulate the rest. However, they can’t use the grant to remove or replace existing insulation.

2. Low carbon heat

  • Air source heat pumps.
  • Ground source heat pumps.
  • Hybrid heat pumps.
  • Solar thermal (liquid filled flat plates or evacuated tube collectors).
  • Biomass boilers. 

If a homeowner opts for a low carbon heat measure, then it must be used for space heating and/or domestic hot water heating purposes. It can’t be used for process heating, outdoor heating or heating swimming pools, for example.

Any heat pump installed in a home must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) of 2.5. In addition, the heat pump element of any hybrid heat pump system must be able to provide the majority of the space heating demand for the home.

The government has stated that biomass boiler installations must:

  • Have a valid emissions certificate for the make and model.
  • Only use fuel that is authorised on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) and that has been tested for on the specific biomass boiler’s emissions certificate, for the lifetime of the installation.
  • Have a valid BSL fuel number for the intended fuel (which the homeowner will need to submit).
  • Only be installed in rural areas.

To have a low carbon heat measure installed, the homeowner must:

  1. Declare that they have planning permission, or that it isn’t required. Visit the Planning Portal website to find out how to get planning permission.
  2. Service any low carbon energy measures installed in their home in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, for the lifetime of the installation.

There’s a minimum level of insulation recommended to have the low carbon heat measures installed. This is to ensure the proper design and operation of the relevant technology in line with specific standards. So, the homeowner may need to have some insulation installed in their home.

If a homeowner has a low carbon heat measure installed in their home through the Green Homes Grant scheme, then the grant will also cover the costs of:

  • Pipework, pumps and valves, and fitting.
  • Buffer tank and domestic hot water cylinders.
  • Heating system controls.
  • New underfloor heating.
  • New high capacity radiators.

If a homeowner already has one, or both, of the above primary measures installed in their home, then they can’t replace it using the Green Homes Grant. However, top ups are allowed, for example installing additional loft insulation up to the recommended level.

As long as the homeowner has one of the primary measures included in their Green Homes Grant package, then the government will give them the same amount towards the cost of one or more of the following secondary measures:

3. Windows and doors

  • Draught proofing.
  • Double/triple glazing, where replacing single glazing.
  • Secondary glazing, in addition to single glazing.
  • Upgrading to energy efficient doors, where replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002.

4. Heating controls and insulation

  • Hot water tank thermostats.
  • Hot water tank insulation.
  • Heating controls such as appliance thermostats, smart heating controls, zone controls, intelligent delayed start thermostats or thermostatic radiator valves.

The grant also covers the following common items, when related to one or more of the primary or secondary measures:

  • Professional services to ensure compliance with building standards, such as:
    • Detailed design drawings and calculations.
    • Damp specialist and structural engineer costs.
    • Modelling to evaluate moisture risk or to estimate payback.
    • Air tightness tests to check for excessive infiltration and ensure adequate controlled ventilation.
  • Contractor costs, including labour, materials, scaffolding, waste removal and VAT costs.
  • Reasonable work to support the retrofit:
    • Necessary structural improvements such as repairs to brickwork or floor joists.
    • Repairing and treating damp.
    • Resolving and eliminating excessive infiltration.
    • Repairing and improving controlled ventilation.

Secondary measures can only be subsidised up to the amount of subsidy provided for primary measures. So for example, if the homeowner receives a £1,000 voucher for primary measures, then they can only receive a maximum of £1,000 for their secondary measures. They’ll need to redeem their voucher for the primary measure(s) that they have installed before being able to redeem their voucher for their secondary measure(s).

Which green home improvements and services aren’t covered by the grant?

The following green home improvements are some examples of what’s not covered by the grant:

  • Building a new extension or conversion.
  • Installing a new fossil fuel boiler (e.g. gas or oil boilers).
  • Insulation to outbuildings, conservatories without fixed heating, new extensions built to current building permissions or extensions without building permission, planning permission or fixed heating.
  • New windows (unless it’s double or triple glazing to replace single glazing).

Also, the Green Homes Grant scheme can’t be used to replace an existing low carbon heating system in a home. Excluding solar thermal, any low carbon heat measure that’s installed must completely replace the homeowner’s current fossil fuel heating system. For the hybrid heat pump measure, this means that they’ll need to get a new fossil fuel element for their heating system – this won’t be covered by the grant.

Homeowners also can’t use the grant for the following related services:

  • Contractor costs for things such as training, asbestos removal and additional building insurance premiums or certification fees.
  • Professional services that aren’t linked to a retrofit, such as buying an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), building surveys and building design, modelling and calculations.
  • Householder costs for furniture storage or removal or alternative accommodation costs during any disruption.
  • Building work for:
    • Retrofit measures that aren’t identified in the list of eligible home improvements.
    • Changes to their home that aren’t linked to energy efficiency improvements, such as general repairs, underpinning, changing a window design or area, re-roofing, electricity or gas safety work and damp proofing.
    • Boiler replacements or repairs.
    • Decorations that aren’t linked to a retrofit.
  • The cost of any advice that they get on the improvements which are best for their home.

Can I still complete Green Homes Grant work whilst the National Restrictions for coronavirus are in place?

Yes. The government has confirmed that Green Homes Grant installers can continue to work whilst the national lockdown is in place from 5th November to 2nd December 2020. You must follow the COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

How do I register to complete work under the Green Homes Grant scheme?

To register your trades business, you must:

  1. Get certified to PAS 2030:2017, PAS 2030:2019 and PAS 2035:2019 (for park homes, high rise buildings and buildings that are both traditionally constructed and protected) by a UKAS accredited body.
  2. Register with TrustMark. You’ll then be added to a directory of certified installers.
  3. Join the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) if you’re installing low carbon heat measures.
  4. Sign up to be a Green Homes Grant installer. You’ll need:
    • Authority to act on behalf of the business you’re registering.
    • To provide your TrustMark licence number and if you’re installing low carbon heat measures, then you’ll also need to provide your MCS licence number.
    • To use the email address associated with your TrustMark or MCS account.
    • Provide your company’s details for payment.
    • Register for each of the scheme’s measures you’re planning to carry out.
    • Accept the Terms and Conditions of the scheme.

TrustMark is a government-endorsed quality scheme and MCS is an industry-led quality assurance scheme – allowing tradespeople to show homeowners that their work is of a high quality and that they’re committed to customer care.

What do I need to include in my quotes for Green Homes Grant work?

You must make sure that the price you quote:

  • Reflects the total costs of installation, including labour, materials and VAT.
  • Is your usual price, and not higher than the price you would have quoted for non-Green Homes Grant work.

The homeowner will need to provide a written copy of your quote when they apply for their Green Homes Grant voucher.

How will I get paid through the Green Homes Grant scheme?

Once the homeowner’s been issued with a Green Homes Grant voucher, the work can begin! Their voucher should have your business’s name on it. When the work’s done, the homeowner will need to pay their share of the cost straight to you (if applicable). Then, they can redeem their grant voucher by providing:

  • Their reference number (which they got when they first applied for the grant).
  • The postcode of the property where the measure has been installed.
  • The email address that they used to apply for the grant.
  • Their voucher number.
  • The final cost of the measure (including VAT as applicable).
  • A digital copy of their dated invoice (1 invoice for each measure that they get installed).

They’ll also need to confirm that:

  • The installation was completed satisfactorily.
  • That you (the installer) has given them the necessary certification documents.
  • They’ve paid their share of the costs to you (if applicable).

Once they’ve redeemed their voucher, the government’s share will be paid directly to you, the tradesperson.

The government has stated that accepting non-payment to secure Green Homes Grant work, or paying it yourself as the tradesperson, will make the voucher invalid and constitute fraud.

How do homeowners apply for the new government grant?

CGI image of house without walls showing possible energy efficient improvements

The scheme is now open and all work must be completed by 31st March 2022. You should tell any interested customers that to apply, they’ll need to:

1. Check their eligibility

Answer some questions about their home on the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website.

2. Find out which energy efficient upgrades may be suitable for their home

They can use the Simple Energy advice tool, which uses their postcode to provide personalised advice by looking at previous surveys of their home.

They should also look at their property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to see which areas of their home could be improved. Or, speak to a retrofit assessor.

3. Get quotes from tradespeople

When they’re applying for their voucher, they’ll need to provide a written quote for the work from at least one tradesperson. However, the government recommends that they provide three quotes. The scheme administrator may request that they provide another quote, if the ones they provide seem unreasonably high.

All tradespeople wanting to take part in the Green Homes Grant scheme must be registered with both the grant scheme and TrustMark, and with MCS if they’re installing low carbon heat measures. Find out how to register here – How do I register to complete work under the Green Homes Grant scheme?

When posting their job on Rated People, we’ve asked homeowners to mention that they’d like to use the Green Homes Grant and ‘TrustMark membership required’ in their job description.

4. Apply for their voucher

To apply, they’ll need to provide:

  • The name and date of birth of the property owner or owners.
  • The name and date of birth of anyone living in the property who is receiving benefits.
  • A quote for the work from a TrustMark-registered tradesperson.
  • The TrustMark licence number of their chosen tradesperson.

If a homeowner wants to make more than one green home improvement using the grant, they’ll need to make separate applications for each one. They’ll get an individual voucher for each improvement.

Their voucher(s) will be valid for 3 months from the date they’re issued, or until 31st March 2022 (whichever date is earlier). They can request a voucher extension any time before their voucher expires, unless the scheme is closed.

Which homeowners are eligible for the Green Homes Grant 2020?

  • Homeowners in England with an owner-occupied home, including long-leaseholders and shared ownership homeowners.
  • Landlords of private rented sector domestic properties in England.
  • Landlords of social sector domestic properties (including LA owned homes) in England.
  • Park home owners in England, for residential sites including Gypsy and Traveller sites.

Owners of new build properties that haven’t been previously occupied aren’t eligible for green upgrades through the Green Homes Grant.

Low income households are those receiving at least one of the following benefits:

  • Jobseekers allowance (JSA) that’s income based.
  • Income based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Income Support (IS).
  • Pension Guarantee Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC).
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC).
  • Universal Credit (UC).
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Carer’s Allowance.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Contribution based Jobseekers allowance (JSA).
  • Contribution based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Housing benefit.

Landlords aren’t counted as low income under the Green Homes Grant, so they can only receive a maximum of £5,000 for their green home improvements.

The government expects that the scheme will benefit over 600,000 houses.

Are there extra Green Homes Grant requirements for landlords?

Landlord welcoming tenants into their new property

Yes. The Green Homes Grant counts towards the total de minimus state aid that landlords are allowed to get over a three-year period. So, if any of your customers are landlords, then you should tell them to check that they won’t exceed the €200,000 threshold if they claim the government green grant.

Following the minimum energy efficiency standards, most private rented properties must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E. If a landlord applies for a Green Homes Grant voucher, then they’ll need to provide proof that they’ve met this standard, or proof of their exemption.

Is there any green work available for tradespeople in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

The Green Homes Grant is only available in England, however there are other initiatives available for other areas in the UK:

What are the benefits of the UK Green Homes Grant scheme 2020?

Roof insulation being installed
  1. Higher consumer demand: At Rated People, we’ve seen an influx in jobs as lockdown eases. With twice as many homeowners planning on making green improvements this year and the Green Homes Scheme now in place, we’re expecting to see even more new jobs posted.
  2. Opportunity to learn new skills: 29% of tradespeople on Rated People have seen a rise in green-related jobs this year. So, it’s a great time to invest in gaining skills around this area.
  3. Increase your business capabilities: The government expects that the scheme will create over 100,000 new jobs. They’ll also provide incentives to employers who hire young people through apprenticeships and traineeships, so it’s a great time to take on new staff to meet the increased consumer demand.

Can I ask the homeowner to pay a deposit?

Yes. It can’t be larger than the amount you’d normally charge, or larger than the homeowner’s expected contribution to the cost of the work (if applicable) under the quote you’ve given them. If the homeowner’s applying as a low income household, then you can’t ask them for a deposit unless the cost of the work is over £10,000 (the government limit).

When can I start Green Homes Grant work?

As soon as the homeowner’s Green Homes Grant application has been approved. You shouldn’t commit to starting any work until they can show you that they’ve been successfully issued with a voucher. Any work that’s started before the voucher’s been issued can’t be claimed.

All work must be completed before the expiry date on the voucher, which is either 3 months after issue, or on 31st March 2022 – whichever is earlier. However, homeowners can apply to extend their voucher before it expires, as long as the scheme hasn’t been closed.

What documents do I need to give the homeowner once the work’s complete?

After the work’s done, you need to give the homeowner:

  • A dated copy of an invoice, which shows the supply and installation cost of their chosen measures. You need to provide 1 invoice for each measure that you install in each home.
  • Any relevant certification for energy efficiency improvement measures.
  • A guarantee document.
  • An MCS certificate and the relevant manufacturer instructions, if you install a low carbon heating measure.
  • A Biomass Suppliers List, if you’ve installed a biomass fuelled low carbon heating system.

Can homeowners complete Green Homes Grant work themselves?

No. The government has stated that the work can’t be completed by the homeowner, a member of their household or their immediate family.

Can homeowners use the government grant to claim money back for green upgrades have been completed in their home before the grant came into place?

No – the government recently confirmed that the grant cannot be used to pay for works carried out before the voucher is issued.

What if the homeowner’s already claiming other government grants or other funding?

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding

Homeowners can’t claim a Green Homes Grant voucher for an improvement that also has had funding under the ECO scheme. However, they can claim both ECO and a Green Homes Grant voucher as long as they’re for different and separate measures – for example, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Homeowners can claim both the Domestic RHI and the government green grant for a low carbon heat measure. You should tell them to claim their Green Homes Grant voucher first. Then, they need to tell Ofgem that they’ve used it when they apply for the Domestic RHI. The Green Homes Grant will then be deducted from their Domestic RHI payments. If they’re only claiming the Green Homes Grant for energy efficiency measures, then they don’t need to tell Ofgem.

Local Authority Delivery Scheme

Homeowners aren’t eligible for the Green Homes Grant if they’ve already received a Local Authority Delivery Scheme grant.

How do I get involved with the Green Homes Grant scheme now?

Heat pump order form

Follow the application steps detailed here. Register with TrustMark and/or MCS now, if you haven’t already. You can become TrustMark registered in as little as five working days if you already have a membership with a recognised trade body such as the Federation of Master Builders, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency or the Building Engineering Services Association, or if you’re already MCS certified.

Then, you should sign up to be a Green Homes Grant installer. Only TrustMark-registered businesses can register to be a Green Homes Grant installer.

You must have received confirmation that your Green Homes Grant registration has been successful before you offer to complete any work under the scheme.

You must also make sure you meet the Publicly Available Specification Standards to install energy efficient measures. All work that you complete under the Green Homes Grant must be completed to PAS 2030:2017, however you can work to PAS 2030:2019 if you’ve already transitioned to that standard. If you’re working in park homes, high rise buildings and/or buildings that are both traditionally constructed and protected, then you must be work to PAS 2035:2019.

If you lose your certification or TrustMark approval at any point, you must tell the scheme administrator.

Tradespeople that are members of Rated People should add the relevant green skills for their trade, such as fitting double glazing and installing energy-efficient boilers, to their profiles now to get ready for the scheme. It’s also a good idea for tradespeople to make sure that the skills already selected on their profiles match the green jobs that homeowners might want done. Follow our simple steps to get your business ready.

Have you read the latest Green Homes Grant information, registered with TrustMark and are ready to become a Green Homes Grant installer? Head over to Gov.uk.

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10 Comments

  1. Hi my name is Colin gas engineer 30 yrs experience in gas boiler repairs and installation and gas landlord certificates

    1. Hi Colin, it’s great to hear about your extensive experience and certificates! If you’d like to find out more about how Rated People can help you to find new jobs, fill in this form and we’ll be in touch for a chat.

  2. Hi, having been fitting insulated render for the past 7 years, do you need to have any special criteria to be eligible to do such work on the green scheme? As well as being on rated people I am on the approved list of k rend contractors.
    Shaun murray

  3. I’m very interested in signing up for this eco insulation work for the benefit of our customers….as soon as it starts up…David kelly taurian plastering services

    1. Hi Elaine, I’d recommend that you post your job for free on Rated People, so that three tradespeople in the Midlands can give you a quote for your park home insulation job. In your job description, you should mention that you’d like to use the Green Homes Grant and that TrustMark membership is required, to encourage registered tradespeople to get in touch with you. You can also ask tradespeople to give you their TrustMark licence number when they quote, and then you can check it on the TrustMark website. Post your job for free on Rated People: https://www.ratedpeople.com/

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