01 Sep 2020

With just a few weeks remaining until the opening of the Green Homes Grant, many buy-to-let landlords are preparing to take advantage of the initiative. 

Hundreds of thousands of property owners, including buy-to-let landlords, will be able to apply for vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements, with the poorest getting up to £10,000, as part of plans unveiled by the government last month. 

The £2bn Green Homes Grant, revealed by chancellor Rishi Sunak, aims to boost the economy and help households become more energy efficient, with more than 600,000 homes eligible for the grant. 

Matt Clemow, CEO of challenger energy brand Igloo Energy, said: “From September, homeowners in England will be able to get up to £10,000 worth of vouchers to make energy-saving improvements so your home is more energy efficient and cheaper to run. It’s a win-win situation for the environment and your wallet.  

“To access the Green Homes Grant, you’ll need to complete an online application form and get a quote from a listed supplier. Once your application has been approved, the government will give you your voucher and you’ll be able to start work.   

“Bear in mind though that for most of us, the grant won’t cover everything, and you will have to pay part of the costs. The voucher will normally pay for around two-thirds of the work, so expect to have to contribute a few thousand pounds. If you’re worried about the additional cost, check to see if you’re eligible to apply for more.”

The government has previously indicated that residential rental properties should be achieving an Energy Performance Certificate rating of D or better by 2025 and C or better by 2030, but what kind of things does the Green Homes Grant cover? 

Clemow continued: “The grant covers a wide number of improvements you can make. You’d be able to use the money for insulation, including wall, under-floor and roof insulation, low carbon heating technologies such as air source and ground source heat pumps, as well as solar thermal systems.   

“Once you’ve received the initial voucher, you can apply for an additional one which will contribute to extra energy efficient home improvements, such as double or triple glazing, energy efficient doors, heating controls such as thermostats, insulation for your hot water tank and draft proofing.

“Anyone who is a homeowner or landlord in England can apply as long as the property isn’t a recent new build. If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland there are other options available to help you make these improvements.” 

As we are getting closer to winter, some property owners, including BTL landlords, are starting to think about what changes, if any, are required when it comes to heating control. 

Clemow added: “A smart thermostat is a great way to make sure you only use energy when you need to heat your home without compromising on comfort. It may also be time to consider if now is the right time to change your heating system altogether.”

Those of you thinking of getting a new boiler may wish to consider switching away from a fossil fuel heating system to something like an Air Source Heat Pump, according to Clemow. 

“These can be up to four times more efficient at making useful heat and have an immediate reduction on your carbon footprint as they use electricity from the grid, which is on average 36% renewable.” 

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