We have never been more aware of the need to look after the planet. Climate change and changes in the natural balance of the world are becoming increasingly apparent and thus why it is important that we all do what we can to look after the environment.
One of the biggest responsibilities that we all have as individuals is in our homes, and the government is taking steps to be able to help us all to do what we can to ensure that our homes are up to scratch when it comes to being as energy efficient as possible.
Identifying Green Home Improvements
When you buy or rent a house, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be provided. This will give you a detailed breakdown of the energy efficiency of the building that you are moving into, as well as information about the energy efficiency measures that are installed in the building. It will also give you information about the work that you could do to the property in order to improve its energy efficiency. These measures can include insulating the walls and loft of the property, double glazing the windows, getting a new boiler system, and installing solar panels.
If you have some aspects of your property that can be improved in terms of its energy efficiency, there are a number of different home improvement grants that you might be eligible for.
The Green Deal
The Green Deal scheme is a government scheme that can loan you the money to pay for your energy efficiency measures such as:
- Double glazing
- Insulation such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, and solid wall insulation
- Renewable energy installation such as solar panels and heat pumps
In the case of the Green Deal, a loan is paid out to you to pay for the home improvement work, but you will need to pay it back.
The Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) is a scheme whereby grants are given to those who are eligible to buy energy efficiency measures for their household. It is open to you if you own or rent your property that is heated by electricity, and you receive income-related benefits.
If, however, you are not receiving income-related benefits, there is still a chance that you can receive some help, through the LA Flex funding scheme (Local Authority Eligibility Flexibility), which is designed to help you if you are on a tight budget.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme
We are seeing more and more people looking to use low-carbon heating systems in their homes – whether it is through the use of air-source heat pumps, biomass boilers, or ground source heat pumps. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is designed to help people with the cost of installing these systems, making significant savings. The scheme is open to all homeowners and renters in England and Wales, and can save you:
- £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
- £5,000 off a biomass boiler
- £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump
Smart Export Guarantee
For households that generate their own energy – through the installation of solar panels, for example – there is the possibility that you go onto the government’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. This is a scheme whereby you can sell the energy that you have harvested back to the national grid.
The scheme can be used for energy created through a range of different methods, including solar panels, hydro energy, wind turbines, micro-CHP, and anaerobic digestion (from farmers, for example).
To be eligible for the scheme, you will need to have a meter installed that measures the energy that you are creating and have your equipment certified that it is safe.
If you are struggling with energy payments, especially during the winter, there are also some other benefits that you might be eligible for.
The Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is available to anyone born on or before 25th September 1956. If this is you, you will be able to claim between £250 and £600, intended to help you with your winter heating bills.
If you get a state pension or are in receipt of other benefits, this payment will be made automatically to you – if not, you must apply for it.
Cold Weather Payment
Between November and April, the government can help with the cost of your heating bill if you are eligible through the scheme, with their Cold Weather Payment. If the weather is below 0 degrees for a period of seven days or longer, a payment of £25 is made.