Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new £ 2 billion Green Homes Grant to make homes across England more energy efficient on Wednesday in his mini budget.
The scheme allows homeowners and landlords to apply for a voucher that will fund at least two thirds of the cost of hiring traders to improve the energy performance of their homes.
The vouchers are up to £ 5,000 per household for most, but lowest-income homes could get even more money, while some are fully funded for changes, up to £ 10,000 per household, the thresholds of which have not yet been published.
Understandably, homeowners have many questions about how the grant will work and how much they could be eligible for.
The Green Homes Grant aims to help homes across England become more energy efficient
But there are tricks they can now use to make their homes more energy efficient, without having to wait for the scheme to open for applications in September.
We’ll show you what you can do to make your home more efficient and why it might be wise to postpone some improvements for now.
What can I do to make my home more energy efficient?
Homeowners and renters can make many energy-efficient improvements. Below are some of the changes you can make today.
Tom Lyon, Energy Helpline’s director of energy, said, “Everyone should look for ultra-efficient appliances and appliances, from your fridge to your lights.
Don’t leave anything on standby unnecessarily – turn off the power instead. Depending on the makes and models of what you own, this step can already save you hundreds of dollars a year.
“If you rent, contact your landlord to see if you can ask to take long-term efficiency measures, such as insulation. There are already basic standards that must be met for rental. However, it may be worth going even further so that they can advertise the property extra efficiently in the future. ‘
Other steps that tenants can take independently to be more energy efficient:
• Try to lower your boiler a few degrees. Many people don’t even notice the change. Make sure you take security measures and contact your landlord first.
• Lower the thermostat slightly. You hardly notice the difference.
• Instead of heating an entire room, use a heated mattress or blanket. These consume considerably less energy than a radiator.
• Limit your use of the washer, dryer and dishwasher to full cycles, set to energy efficient settings. If possible, air dry clothes.
• Select window coverings that can promote efficiency. For example – in winter, curtains with insulating material can keep the heat inside. In summer, light-colored curtains can help reflect light and heat.
• Transparent removable film is available for windows to help insulate. It can be found at hardware stores or online.
• Some people believe that foil behind a radiator can help with heat efficiency. Special foil for this purpose can be found at hardware stores or online.
• Block drafts with specialized protectors or even rolled up towels.
Tips: Lowering the thermostat can make your home more energy efficient
What work should I take away from now?
The Green Homes Grant scheme is limited in time and can be applied for in September 2020, with further details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Homeowners can apply for the scheme through the Simple Energy Advice website and are open to anyone who would benefit from eligible energy efficiency measures.
After answering some basic questions about their home, applicants along with local accredited suppliers will be recommended recommended energy-saving measures.
It will be worth it that many households don’t want to make the home improvements they wanted to make in the coming weeks to September, as they may be eligible for government vouchers.
This can mean changing your windows from single glazing to double glazing or triple glazing – or insulating walls and lofts.
Alternatively, you could think of changing your boiler to a more eco-friendly one, but again, you can claim this instead of getting money.
There could also be scope to include energy-efficient lighting and costs for insulated doors in the scheme.
While all details of the grant are not yet known, you should soon be able to see if you can get a refund for any changes you are considering making.
Do I have to do something now?
One thing you can do now to save money on your utility bills is to change providers or rates. Using price comparison sites, you can find a cheaper, better deal, including a green one that may save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Switching from a pricey standard rate to a flat rate can also help lower the bills.
Peter Earl, head of energy at Compare the Market, said: ‘Lower household bills, annual savings for millions of households and greater focus on measures that help our planet are all welcome news for households across the UK.
However, it is important to put the committed amount in context; while it is enough to upgrade 650,000 homes, it represents only two percent of all UK households.
“One action that households can take today is to switch to a fixed-rate energy tariff. Switching is an effective way to lower your energy costs, and with an increasing number of tariffs marketing renewable energy, going green doesn’t have to cost the earth. ‘
An energy performance certificate shows the energy flow and energy rating of a home
How many inefficient houses are there in Britain?
In addition to the £ 2 billion Green Homes Grant the government is investing, it said it is pushing investments of more than £ 6 billion to bring as many homes on EPC C as possible by 2035.
An energy performance certificate (EPC) shows a home’s energy flow and potential energy rating, with F and G being the lowest on the table, demonstrating that a home is not energy efficient.
However, according to the latest English Housing Survey, currently around a million homes, equivalent to 4.3 percent of homes in England, still have EPC band F and G.
Due to the age and design of many buildings, the UK housing stock is among the least energy efficient in Europe.
The government is also investigating how housing renovation costs can be halved and more than £ 320 million is being invested in helping heat homes with lower carbon alternatives such as heat grids and heat pumps.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the Energy Company Obligation has already improved efficiency in over two million homes, stopping 48 million tons of CO2 from polluting the environment – equivalent to the annual emissions of 21 million cars .
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