Mon 23 Nov 2020
Paul Bennett, Director
Since the Green Homes Grant was launched in July 2020, more details about the structure of the scheme and the improvements that can be made have been released. Of those on offer, a boiler upgrade is one of the most popular options but there is a caveat.
Those thinking they could simply swap an old, inefficient boiler for a newer but still traditional gas model will need to revise their thinking. In order to qualify for the Green Homes Grant funding of up to £5,000 (£10,000 for those in receipt of some benefits), homeowners must install at least one of the following measures in the primary category:
Insulation (such as loft, cavity wall or under-floor insulation); and/or
Low carbon heating (such as air source heat, ground source heat pump or solar thermal)
The voucher can then go on to fund secondary measures, which include:-
double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazed windows)
secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
external energy efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
hot water tank thermostats and insulation
Micro CHP: the closest like-for-like
So how easy are traditional boiler alternatives to install? Micro CHP options (combined heat and power) can provide an almost like-for-like option for an existing traditional boiler, as the units are roughly the same size, can run off the mains gas and feed into the existing central heating system. The carbon saving comes from actually generating electricity, instead of consuming it from the grid.
Heat pumps: not all hot air
Air source heat pumps are another practical option as all a homeowner needs is enough exterior wall space to fit an external unit, roughly the size of a suitcase. Ground source heat pumps are more complicated to install, involving underground pipe work - or drilling down very deep - and specialist equipment is required, adding to the installation cost.
Solar panels: a part solution
Solar thermal panels are already in the mass market but they only generate electricity, not gas, and may need to be used in tandem with a secondary energy source. It is possible, however, to buy batteries that ‘store’ surplus energy made for future use and even sell any unused electricity generated back to the grid.
There are a number of hybrid systems that can combine the above technologies – sometimes with more conventional boilers systems as a back-up – that can reduce a home’s carbon footprint and energy consumption.
Green Homes Grant: 1-year extension
When the Chancellor announced the Green Homes Grant as part of his 2020 summer statement, many were surprised that landlords and homeowners only had until 31st March 2021 to apply for the scheme and get the works completed.
Thankfully, those wishing to make any of the permitted energy changes have been granted an extension to the tune of a year, with applications and the conclusion of works now set for 31st March 2022.
A ban on gas boilers altogether?
It’s worth bearing in mind the current Government has a zero net target to meet and in order to do this, it’s rumoured to be bringing forward a ban on gas boilers in all new builds from 2025 to 2023. Instead, house builders would be obliged to fit heat pumps and like diesel and petrol cars, we may see a phasing out of the sale of gas boilers altogether.
Apply and source a trade:
If you’d like to use the Green Homes Grant extension to explore the option of upgrading your eco credentials, you can make an application and find a registered, approved trade on the Government’s official web page.
If you would like to discuss moving to a more energy efficient property in London, or want to make eco improvements before selling a property you own, talk to the Behr & Butchoff team for examples and advice.