In his most recent statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak pushed on the government’s commitment to greener houses with the announcement of a £2bn “Green Homes Grant”. This new scheme will see more funding for greener home building and bringing older homes up to required levels of eco-friendliness and sustainability.
The new scheme will allow landlords and owner-occupiers to apply for vouchers from September this year. The grants will help property owners to make their homes more energy efficient in a number of different ways. Each grant will cover at least two thirds of the cost of any works. It will include things such as loft, wall and floor insulation and other energy efficiency processes and systems. A limit of £5,000 per home is in place for most properties, while those on low incomes can claim a voucher covering full costs up to £10,000. The government hasn’t clarified if the scheme is open to private and social landlords. So far, we know that around 650,000 homes will initially be eligible. The full scope of the scheme will be announced before September.
Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund
In addition to the “Green Homes Grant” Sunak’s full statement and documentation included information about a new Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. The documents explained the fund will “help social landlords improve the least energy-efficient social rented homes” and there will be an initial £50m available to fund the scheme.
The government has set a target to make all homes carbon zero by 2050 and social housing landlords have suggested it will cost £20,000 per home to achieve this in their properties. With this cost price in mind then the new scheme could create 2,500 carbon neutral homes and set a standard for expectations going forward. With 4 million social properties in England it will only be a small dent, but it will show what can be done with the right funding.
Industry reacts Positively to Government’s Green Commitments
Professionals across the property sector have reacted warmly to the green commitments promised by the government. Many of the announcements had been predicted so we are awaiting further details to fully assess how effective the measures will be. Building better and greener homes is something everyone can get along with but it is also important to ensure older properties are brought up to standard.
Criticism on the issue has mainly been around the quality of works. It is important works are carried out by qualified professionals and homeowners are advised in how to use the vouchers properly, as the dangers and damage of low-quality works, such as badly fitted insulation can cause much more harm than good.
A greener approach to housing and living standards is something we should all commit to, so the Chancellor’s latest investment should be something we all watch with interest.