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Green Homes Grant for Home Retrofit - up to £5,000 - full explainer

A detailed explanation of the Green Homes Grant (England), including details for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Will Needham

What is the Green Homes Grant?

Launched by the UK Government in September 2020, the Green Homes Grant offers homeowners up to £5,000 (non-repayable) to be put towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements in your home. The list of retrofit measures covered by the scheme can be seen below.

The voucher covers two-thirds of the total cost of the works, up to a maximum amount of £5,000. Applicants with lower-income could potentially receive up to £10,000 without the need to pay for one-third of the works yourself.

What can the voucher be used for?

The voucher must be used for at least one of the primary retrofit measures listed below. Homeowners can then select a secondary measure to make up the cost to £5,000 (if your primary measure falls short of this total). However it should be noted that funding for the secondary measures is not guaranteed, as the Government will prioritize all primary measures first, then allocate funding to secondary measures if sufficient funding is still available (see below for how much funding has been allocated).

List of primary retrofit measures

Applicants must select at least one primary measure from the Insulation or Low Carbon Heat categories below:

Insulation The following insulation measures are covered by the voucher:

  • solid wall insulation (internal or external)
  • cavity wall insulation
  • under-floor insulation (solid floor, suspended floor)
  • loft insulation
  • flat roof insulation
  • pitched roof insulation
  • room in roof insulation
  • insulating a park home

Check the additional requirements around insulation measures.

Low carbon heat The following low carbon heating measures are covered by the voucher:

  • air source heat pump
  • ground source heat pump
  • solar thermal (liquid filled flat plate or evacuated tube collector)
  • biomass boiler
  • hybrid heat pump Check the additional requirements around low carbon heat measures.

List of secondary retrofit measures

Windows and doors The following measures are covered by the voucher:

  • draught proofing
  • double or triple glazing (where replacing single glazing)
  • secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
  • energy efficient replacement doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)

Heating controls and insulation The following measures are covered by the voucher:

  • hot water tank thermostat
  • hot water tank insulation
  • heating controls (such as, appliance thermostats, smart heating controls, zone controls, intelligent delayed start thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves)

Who is eligible to apply for a Green Homes Grant?

To be eligible to apply for a Green Homes Grant, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • you own your own home (including long-leaseholders and shared ownership)
  • you own your own park home on a residential site (including Gypsy and Traveller sites)
  • you’re a residential landlord in the private or social rented sector (including local authorities and housing associations)

Who CANNOT apply for the grant?

You cannot apply for a Green Homes Grant if:

  • you do not own the property, i.e. you are just a tenant. If you are a tenant and would like your landlord to apply for a grant (and carry out the work) the government recommends you use the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website to check which energy efficiency or low carbon heating improvements may be best suited for your home. Then you can pass this questionnaire, along with a proposed energy efficiency plan for the property to your landlord for their consideration.
  • if you are the first inhabitant of a new build property.
  • you have also applied for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding for the same efficiency measures. However, you can apply for both grants for different efficiency measures. For example applying for a
  • you live outside of England. Currently the Green Homes Grants are only available to England residents. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales residents, please see advice at the bottom of this page.

Controversies over the scheme

In Feburary 2021, the Government announced it would be cutting the funding to the scheme after handing out vouchers to only 49,000 households (against the original target of 600,000 households).

An intial budget of £2 billion was set aside for the year 2020-2021, however 95% of this went unspent and business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has revealed that this fund will not be rolled into the 2021-2022. Instead a new line item for just £320 million has been earmarked for the scheme in 2021.

There were a plethora of issues in the rollout of the scheme that meant that so few households received a voucher in the financial year 2020-2021:

  • applicants complained of the complex application process to receive a voucher which put off many from applying,
  • a lack of accredited installers (TrustMark) compounded the supply issues,
  • installers are said to have left the scheme after not receiving payments from the governments for months after the installions have been completed,
  • the coronavirus pandemic may have affected uptake too.

I'm in Scotland / Wales / Northern Ireland - can I apply for a Green Homes Grant?

Unfortunately not at the moment. The best you can do is visit the corresponding links below to find out how the individual devolved administrations may be able to support your green retrofit ambitions:

Similar schemes in other countries around the world

The UK is of course not the only country to offer the grants to homeowners. In the next article I will explore the relative successes and failures of comparable schemes in other countries to try to understand if the UK scheme was unique in its failure and if so, what the reasons for this might have been.