If you’re considering making energy efficiency improvements to your home under the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, then finding the right tradesperson will be an important decision..
Image: Centre for Sustainable Energy
The Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme announced in July allows homeowners to claim vouchers of up to £5,000 to spend on energy‐saving home improvements, with households receiving benefits able to claim up to £10,000.
Within the scheme, you need to identify a project from a list of possible primary measures (such as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or installing an air source heat pump). So long as at least one of the primary measures is in the package of works, households will also be able to install secondary measures. These include draught proofing, double glazing (but only to replace single glazing) and smart heating controls.
Read more: The Green Homes Grant: how does it work?
However, as part of the process of claiming your vouchers against these energy-saving measures, you'll need to find an accredited tradesperson to complete your project. The Grand Designs magazine team spoke to consumer advice website HomeOwners Alliance for their top tips
1. Research and choose your projects
Head to the Simple Energy Advice website. It has advice on the specific projects and lets you read‐up in detail on what is involved, things to look out for and general advice. You can also use the site to check eligibility for different projects and get more personalised advice by answering some basic questions about your home. You can build a plan based on the recommendations, download it and use it to contact installers to get quotes.
2. Find an installer
You can’t necessarily use your local builder to install your chosen works under the Green Homes Grant scheme. You need to use firms registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or Trustmark. Both are Government recognised organisations that are more than just marketing sites for tradespeople, but ensure their members deliver to a high standard. You can search the MCS and Trustmark sites or go to the Simple Energy Advice website which will link you through to local registered installers.Some installers are now listed as working nationally or regionally and thus cover a wider demographic. Speak to the firms in detail about your project and get at least three quotes, if possible. They should talk you through how the scheme works and whether they can undertake your primary and secondary projects.
3. Review quotes and work out your budget
It’s worth noting that the two‐thirds of the costs covered by the government is paid in vouchers. While you will receive the voucher, the installer will receive a voucher reference and be paid by the Government directly. Make sure you get a break down of costs in a quote including the claimed voucher. Anything you’re not sure about, speak to the installers. And remember the amount you get for secondary measures is capped to match the amount you claimed on primary measures, so getting detailed quotes will be important. Once you have a clear idea of costs, you can make sure you have the funds in place. For more advice on this see our guide on the Best Ways to Fund Home Improvements.
4. Avoid scams
Within days of the government scheme being announced, homeowners started to receive scam emails and phone calls. You need to apply for the Green Homes Grant yourself, if an installer offers to apply on your behalf it may be fraudulent. Do not respond to unsolicited emails and calls about the scheme. You need to apply for the green homes grant yourself, so make sure you take the lead and contact registered companies after carrying out your research.
5. Get moving
Your chosen installer can start applying for vouchers from the end of September 2020 so now is the time to start identifying possible projects, finding installers and booking them in. The work must be completed by 31st March 2021, when the scheme scheduled to close.
For more advice on all your home owning and moving questions, plus services you can trust, visit the HomeOwners Alliance property advice website.
Want to learn more about the energy-saving measures available through the Green Homes Grant and get the latest news on the scheme as it happens? Sign up to the Grand Designs newsletter to receive all this and more, direct to your inbox.