Green Homes Grant: East Sussex FAQ

A new Government scheme called the Green Homes Grant means that homeowners in England can get vouchers to cover part of the cost of making their homes more energy efficient.

You can apply for a voucher using the Green Homes Grant website.

The information below is a summary of key points for people in East Sussex.  Please refer to the Green Homes Grant website for the latest full details about this national scheme.

What is the Green Homes Grant?

Homeowners in England can apply for vouchers to help cover the cost of energy efficient improvements to their home – such as low carbon heating systems, insulation or double glazing to replace single glazing.

The vouchers cover about two-thirds of the cost of the energy-efficient improvements, up to a maximum of £5,000 per household. 

As an example, if you install cavity wall and floor insulation costing £4,000, you’d only pay about £1,320, with the Government contributing the remaining £2,680.

All the works need to be completed by 31 March 2021, so you will have to get the measures installed by this deadline.

If you’re on a low income or certain benefits, you can get vouchers of up to £10,000 to cover the entire cost of installing the measures or even get support from the East Sussex Warm Home Check service to have fully funded improvements arranged and installed (without applying for a voucher).

What will I need to do make improvements to my home?

To make use of a Green Homes Grant voucher you’ll need to:

  • Get quotes for the work. 
  • Apply to the scheme 
  • Get any necessary permissions
  • Get the work completed by 31st March 2021.

How can I get a Green Home Grant if I’m on a low income?

If you’re on a low income you can access the scheme in the same way, through the Green Homes Grant website, to get a voucher of up to £10,000. 

It may instead be possible to have fully funded Green Homes Grant improvement works arranged for you by the East Sussex Warm Home Check service (without having to apply for a voucher).  Contact the service to find out more.

If you’re eligible for help from the Warm Home Check service they can offer you a COVID-secure Warm Home Check visit to help to find out the improvements that would be best for you and your home.  They’ll then check whether funding is available.  A more detailed home survey may then be arranged to help you review all your options and understand the recommended improvements. Finally, the service will arrange for approved installers to complete the fully funded work.

Am I eligible for a Green Home Grant voucher? 

You will be eligible for a Green Home Grant voucher if you own your own home.  Grants are not however available for newly built homes which have not been previously occupied.

Leaseholders, and those with a share-of-freehold type lease, will need to get permission from any other freeholders before making changes that affect the building. 

Some measures, such as external wall insulation, may require planning permission.

What if I rent my home? 

Landlords of private rented and social domestic housing are free to use the scheme.

As a renter you won’t be able to access the scheme yourself, but you can talk to your landlord to see if they’ll make improvements to your home. 

What is covered?

The scheme covers around 20 different types of home improvement

However, there are some restrictions, which are outlined below:

You need to install at least one PRIMARY improvement. 

To qualify for any financial support, you’ll need to install what the Government calls ‘primary’ improvements. These include:

  • Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation. Insulation for a park home is also included.
  • Low carbon heating, such as air-source or ground-source heat pumps, or solar thermal systems, which provide renewable ways of heating your home. 

You can then get up to the same amount for SECONDARY improvements. 

Then if, and only if, you’re installing at least one of the primary improvements above, you’ll also be able to use the vouchers to install “secondary” measures. 

Crucially, you can only receive funding for secondary improvements up to the amount of funding you get for the primary measures. For example, if you’ve received £1,000 towards cavity wall insulation, you can only receive a maximum of £1,000 towards any secondary measures. These include:

  • Draught-proofing
  • Double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing, but only if you currently have single glazing – it won’t cover replacement double glazing.
  • Energy efficient doors, where you’re replacing single-glazed or solid doors installed before 2002. 
  • Heating controls and insulation, including appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed-start thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves.

Check you are eligible and apply.

Before applying for funding, you can check which measures (if any) you’re eligible for and get quotes from tradespeople using the Simple Energy Advice eligibility checker. The Government suggests getting at least three quotes from different tradespeople.

The tool only gives an idea of what you could be eligible for, rather than a guarantee you’ll get funding. It is important that you don’t agree to any work until after you have applied and have been issued with a voucher.

How do I apply?

You can now apply for a voucher on the Government website. Don’t worry, you won’t need to have someone come to your home to do an assessment to apply – but it will need to be approved before you can get any funding.

During the application process, you will need to have the following information to hand:

  • The name and date of birth of the property owner(s).
  • The name and date of birth of anyone living in the property who receives benefits.
  • A quote for the work from a TrustMark-registered tradesperson.
  • The tradesperson’s TrustMark licence number.

If your application is successful, you’ll be issued with a voucher – one for each of the measures. 

Once the work is complete, you’ll need a dated copy of the invoice provided by the installer to redeem the voucher. The grant will then be paid directly to the installer on your behalf. 

You will only need to pay the “top-up” that the voucher didn’t cover. 

Using the same example as above:

  • If you install cavity wall and floor insulation costing £4,000, you’d only pay about £1,320, with the Government contributing the remaining £2,680.
  • You will be responsible for paying the £1320, and the Government will pay the remaining £2,680 directly to the company. 

How do I find installers?

The Government’s eligibility checker lets you search for registered installers in your area, so you can contact tradespeople and get quotes for the work you want. 

Any work MUST be carried out by TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme-registered tradespeople.

What if the work requires planning permission?

Some measures, such as external wall insulation, may need planning permission. It’s best to find out what your council’s rules are early, as the work needs to have been completed by the end of March 2021.

What if I’m using different installers for different measures?

You can use more than one installer if you’re having multiple improvements installed. You’ll only need to complete a single application form, but you will need to provide separate quotes for each measure.  

You’ll also be issued separate vouchers for each improvement.

My installer has asked for a deposit – is this allowed?

The Government says that installers can still ask for a deposit under the scheme. However, it shouldn’t be larger than what they’d usually charge. It also can’t be larger than your expected contribution to the cost of the measure under the quote they’ve given you. 

If you’re applying for the boosted £10,000 funding, you cannot be asked for a deposit unless the cost of the improvements is more than £10,000. 

Where can I go for more information and support?

Warmer Sussex is part of a not-for-profit cooperative, partnering with a range of community organisations and fully vetted local tradespeople to help the people of Sussex in their journey to an energy efficient home.

They have a helpful free-to-use tool – the Warmer Sussex Plan Builder – to help you decide what the best options are for you and your home. 

Or you can send Warmer Sussex your details and they will arrange an appointment for a home survey and Warmer Sussex Whole House Plan, which will show you what energy efficiency improvements best suit your home and which would have the biggest impact.  There is a charge for this service.

You will be assigned a retrofit coordinator who will support you through the process and explain what options are eligible for the grant. Then they will help you get you up to three quotations and help you plan the works with local contractors who are members of our cooperative and accredited to carry out work funded by the Green Homes Grant.

Remember: the only tradespeople able to do work paid with Green Homes Grant vouchers are those registered with Trustmark and either PAS2030 accredited or a member of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).  

Help from the East Sussex Warm Home Check service

The Warm Home Check service offers advice and support to anyone who struggles to afford to keep warm at home. If you are on a low income, and privately rent or own your home, you may qualify for a free home visit which includes:

  • advice on getting help to pay for heating
  • an assessment of your home to identify how to keep warm
  • advice on how the Green Homes Grant may be able provide fully funded home improvements.
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