The British Board of Agrément has welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a £2 billion fund for energy-saving home improvements.
Confirmation of the Green Homes Grant, which will see homeowners receive subsidies of up to £10,000, came just days after the BBA – as part of an influential lobby comprised of UK energy efficiency organisations – called on the government to include a ‘major’ green stimulus within its economic recovery package.
“We are delighted that the Chancellor has concurred with industry and included this incredibly positive grant scheme within his economic statement,” said BBA CEO Hardy Giesler. “The BBA, along with eight other organisations from the energy-saving sector, wrote to the Chancellor requesting that he release funding for environment-friendly domestic retrofits in order to revive the economy and stimulate green growth post Covid-19. We referred to it as a ‘street-by-street energy efficiency revolution’ to support economic recovery and protect the NHS. The Green Homes Grant does just this, as well as creating new jobs, addressing sub-standard housing/fuel poverty and supporting the government’s net zero ambition.
“The move also focusses attention on just how vital innovative construction products and solutions are in improving inefficient buildings and reducing carbon emissions. Green technologies will be the lifeblood of the construction industry moving forward and the BBA is committed to supporting the development and growth of this sector,” added Mr Giesler.
Under the scheme private homeowners investing in energy-saving upgrades such as a new boiler, insulation, heat pumps, double glazing, lighting and doors etc will have two-thirds of the cost met by the government up to a maximum of £5,000. The limit for the country’s poorest households has been set at £10,000 and these homeowners may not be required to make any contribution to their home improvements. The grant is expected to be launched in September via an online applications process. Successful applicants will receive vouchers to be redeemed through accredited partners.
In its letter to the Chancellor the lobby group had identified the Home Upgrade Grants (HUG) scheme outlined in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto as a suitable vehicle to deliver a nationwide domestic energy-efficiency retrofit programme. The group stated: “In the first year of the HUG scheme the delivery of 10,000 home energy retrofits would create 500 jobs and save the NHS £63 million; rolled out at scale the scheme would deliver 185,000 retrofits, 8,000 jobs and a significant £1 billion saving for the NHS.”
The National Insulation Association drafted a blueprint for a pilot version of HUG, with the industry bodies offering their support to government in ensuring its success. Hardy Giesler said that offer of help remains on the table: “We outlined to the Chancellor our readiness, as a group, to help progress the HUG scheme and deliver the societal and economic benefits it would bring. That readiness remains and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss the Green Homes Grant scheme with government.”