How effective is the UK Green Homes Grant?
The Green Homes Grant has been introduced to help homes in the UK be more energy efficient. Its main goal is to lower emissions.
The grant provides funds for these improvements. Individuals can apply for up to £5,000 per home to put towards the costs of 2 energy efficient measures. This increases to £10,000 for lower income households.
The grant aims to increase the standard of pre-built housing stock in the UK. The UK has a high proportion of old buildings which require maintenance and care to sustain. This grant is a step in the right direction in making these buildings a higher quality.
So, is this grant fulfilling its promises? Not exactly, there has already been numerous issues in the few short weeks that the grant has been available. There are issues from the sides of both the applicant and tradespeople who are required to fulfil the work required.
Why is home energy efficiency so important?
150 million tonnes of UK carbon emissions come from home energy usage. This totals 15% of all emissions in the UK.
2030 emissions targets aim for this number to reduce by 15%. In 2050 they want this figure to be net zero.
There are thousands of homes in the UK which do not meet the bare minimum standard for energy efficiency. It is paramount that these homes are helped in reducing their carbon emissions.
It is not enough to just build newer homes which are energy efficient we must also target older homes which fall short of the required energy efficiency levels.
E- rating targets
Homes found to be E or under on the energy efficiency rating are deemed uninhabitable. If a landlord rents out a property which is below an E rating, then they can be handed hefty fines.
It is hard to police this of course. The council would find it incredibly difficult to track whether every home being rented adheres to required ratings.
Improvements by landlords can be capped at £3500 even if these improvements do not make the home above an E rating. This could mean that tenants may have to continue living in lower quality properties. These tenants end up paying more for their energy usage and will be unable to lower their energy emissions.
F&G rating property areas
The areas with the highest levels of F&G rated properties have been researched by InventoryBase. They found that out of 20 constituencies, the North West had the highest proportion of F&G rated homes.
Their research also showed that in England alone there are 823,000 homes which boast a rating of E or lower. Through the Green Homes Grant 600,000 homes are expected to benefit from it. Landlords who apply for the grant must have a property rated E or above. Because of this, the lowest quality homes in the UK may miss out on the grant.
Landlords lacking incentives
The threat of fines could see many landlords actively seeking to improve their energy efficiency rating. However, limiting grants to properties only E and above could mean that the poorest quality homes are forgotten.
If landlords with a rating of F&G cannot afford to improve their homes out of their own pocket, they may have to be pulled from the market all together. This may worsen the housing crisis in the UK
Shortage of tradespeople
Under the scheme the applicants will not pay out of their own pocket them be reimbursed, but rather a voucher will be given directly to the firm who is carrying out the improvements. Vouchers are not due to be issued till mid-November. The works will also need to be completed by next March. This does not provide enough time for some 600,000 homes to be improved.
Tradespeople will have to adapt their strategy to ensure that as many homes as possible can be updated. The government will have to listen to tradespeople’s time concerns in order for the scheme to work.
In conclusion, providing the scheme all goes ahead as planned, it will be a great thing for the UK. Not only this but it will also benefit people on a global scale. We must all do our bit in reducing our carbon emissions to protect the future of our planet. This grant is definitely a step in the right direction.