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NEWS EXTRA


GOVERNMEN GRANTS NEW GO AT GREENING HOMES


The Government’s economic recovery plans include the Green Homes Grant, a sort of ‘Son-of Green Deal’, aimed at improving the energy-efficiency of homes.


LAST MONTH Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £3bn green investment plan, including the Green Homes Grant, as part of his Summer Economic Update, details of which are now clearer. The works are split into primary and secondary categories. In order to qualify for any funding, homeowners must install at least one primary measure such as insulation and or low carbon heating (such as air source heat, ground source heat pump or solar thermal).


In order for the installation of low carbon heating to qualify, the house will also need to have adequate insulation before it is eligible for a grant.


Providing that the energy saving works include at least one measure from the primary category, homeowners and landlords will also be able to claim for a grant for secondary measures which include: l double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazing); l energy efficient doors (where replacing doors installed prior to 2002); l draught proofing; and l heating controls and insulation, such as thermostats and smart heating controls.


Grants for secondary measures will be capped at the same amount as those for the primary measures. So, if a householder claims £1,500 for insulation, they can only have up to £1,500 for double glazing. Grants may cover at least two thirds of the cost of energy efficiency home improvements, up to £5,000 per household , though low income households can claim 100% of the cost up to £10,000.


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Those carrying out the work will need to have the TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation to be able to take part in the scheme and a list of such contractors will be provided to those applying for vouchers.


The Builders Merchants Federation will be working in partnership with TrustMark and a dedicated page on the TrustMark website will list, by region, the BMF members participating in the scheme.


The BMF will also help TrustMark facilitate specialist product training for tradespeople signing up for the scheme, and has offered its 32 Centres of Excellence across the country as potential training centres. John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are excited to work with TrustMark to develop the quality supply route required to facilitate an anticipated 600,000 projects through the Green Homes Grant. BMF supplier members are at the forefront of product development in insulation and heat pump technology and our merchant members account for over 80% of trade distribution channels, making this a natural partnership. “We fully support this


Government initiative that will not only cut energy bills for consumers and reduce the country’s carbon emissions but will also support over 100,000 jobs for skilled tradespeople.”


Simon Ayers, Chief Executive of TrustMark said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the BMF and build a partnership that takes in the whole supply chain. “TrustMark accredited tradespeople working with a


recognised supply chain will provide homeowners with the confidence they need that those working on their homes have been thoroughly vetted for technical competence, customer services and trading practices.” Jeff House, Head of External Affairs at Baxi Heating says: “Given that the UK has the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe it makes absolute sense to prioritise action with a “fabric first” approach; the cleanest kWh of heat is that which is not required.


“We welcome the inclusion of heat pumps as an eligible measure as there is a clear need to grow the UK supply chain and skills base to support a wider role for this technology group as we transition towards net-zero. However, the scope of heating measures should be wider to better support consumer needs and include other key components such as hot water storage cylinders.”


Mark Kelly, CEO at Eurocell plc, said: “We’ve been pleased to stand alongside other manufacturers and industry bodies to lobby Government for clarity over the past few weeks, in the campaign originally spearheaded by Roy Frost, CEO at GJB Window Systems.


“We now have that clarity and can start reinstating confidence to the market and convincing customers who were waiting to see if they could replace existing double with double glazing to start placing orders again. “The government has put quality assurance at the heart of the scheme, stating that tradespeople must register for TrustMark or Microgeneration


Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation to take part. Whilst we 100% support prioritising quality assurance and jobs being undertaken to the highest standard, we hope that any additional bureaucracy doesn’t lead to less work for smaller companies and installers.” Mark Wilkins, head of training and external affairs at Vaillant says: “The variety in the UK’s housing stock means that there is simply no silver bullet that will solve the challenge of how to decarbonise our homes. However, we’ve always advocated improvements to the fabric of our buildings to minimise the amount of heat needed in the first place, whatever heating system is employed. Once energy demand is reduced through good insulation, we are confident that heat pumps can be used in many private and social homes to provide a low carbon and cost effective solution. “This pot of funding from the Government is just one of the signs that financing for ‘green’ initiatives is becoming more widely available. But a rise in demand supported by the wider availability of funding needs to be matched by an increase in the number of installers with the right skills to design and install low carbon heating solutions to a high standard. The Government needs to do more to encourage people to get training, and support the initiatives undertaken by Vaillant and others in the industry. Otherwise, the ability to roll out energy-saving measures and low-carbon heating technologies would be severely limited by the shortage of designers and installers on the ground.” BMJ


www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net August 2020


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