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Make the most of Rishi Sunak’s £2bn greener homes scheme with savings on insulation and double glazing

RISHI Sunak isn’t only giving away free meals. He is offering home improvements too.

Like Eat Out To Help Out, his Green Homes plan aims to assist businesses — in this case, tradesmen — as well as families.

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At least 600,000 homes could benefit from up to £10,000 for loft insulation or double glazing in the new scheme[/caption]

At least 600,000 homes could benefit from up to £10,000 for loft insulation or double glazing.

Details of the £2billion scheme — meant to lower our energy use and so cut bills — were unveiled this week.

For now, it applies only to England. But the Scottish and Welsh authorities could follow suit if it proves a success.

Here I answer key questions about the scheme.

Q. So I get a free Nest thermostat and windows . . . 

A. Not exactly. The more desirable stuff, such as smart thermostats and windows, is only available if you sign up for other things first — new insulation, say.

The measures are split into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary measures include: insulation — in your walls (solid or cavity), under-floor or loft; and “low-carbon heating”, meaning solar panels or a new system that uses warmth from the air or the ground to heat your water or your radiators.

PA:Press Association

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Green Homes plan aims to assist businesses as well as families[/caption]

You need to sign up for at least one of these to get the secondary measures.

These include: Double or triple glazing, but only when replacing single glazing; new doors that help keep the cold out — but only if your current doors are older than 2002; “smart” thermostat controls such as Nest and Hive that let you control your radiators even when you’re out (some will automatically turn off the heating when you are away) and draught-proofing, blocking gaps in door frames, for instance, that let in cold air.

Bear in mind any secondary options you choose must not exceed the cost of the primary measures.

So if you get £1,000 towards insulating your walls, you can only get up to £1,000 towards new windows.

If you already have loft insulation but it is not effective, you can have more added. But officially you cannot have it replaced.

Q. What is low-carbon heating?

A. The key thing to know is that after the initial cost, you can heat your home and water for a song. Plus you are helping cut greenhouse gases.

1st line of defence

CAVITY WALL INSULATION

  • Typical cost: £475
  • With discount: £158
  • Savings: £165 a year

UNDER-FLOORING INSULATION

  • Typical cost: £1,000
  • With discount: £333
  • Savings: £45 a year

LOFT INSULATION

  • Typical cost: £300
  • With discount: £100
  • Savings: £150 a year

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP

  • Typical cost: £10,000
  • With discount: £3,333
  • Savings: £350 a year

Prices based on a semi-detached property

One option is solar panels that use energy from the sun to warm your home.

Note these look similar to but are slightly different to the ones that create electricity to power appliances, which are not included in the scheme.

Less well known are heat pumps that make use of warmth in the ground or the air.

A ground-source heat pump uses pipes buried in your garden to extract warmth from the soil. An air-source pump sucks in heat from outside air to warm your home and hot water.

Both are pricey, and can cost more than the maximum £10,000 contribution.

Q. How much will I pay?

A. Those on benefits get the entire cost up to £10,000.

The thinking is that less well-off families would like to make their homes greener but are less likely to have savings.

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The scheme is designed to lower our energy use and cut bills[/caption]

Otherwise, two-thirds of the measures’ cost is covered up to £5,000.

So for cavity wall and floor insulation costing £4,000, for example, you would pay £1,320, with Government vouchers covering the remaining £2,680. Not all work will cost thousands of pounds.

Insulating cavity walls — essentially the gap between internal and external surfaces — costs around £390 for a mid-terrace house and £610 for a detached home.

With two-thirds of the cost covered by the Government, you would pay £129 or £201.

Q. Who is eligible for the help?

A. All homeowners are eligible, as are landlords who have houses they rent out. Newbuilds and business buildings are excluded.

The Government-backed Simple Energy Advice service can suggest some ideas and point you in the direction of approved tradesmen. Vouchers for this will be issued from the end of September.

To find out more, head over to simpleenergyadvice.org.uk.

2nd line of defence

DRAUGHT-PROOFING

  • Typical cost: £200
  • Savings: £20 a year

DOUBLE GLAZING

  • Typical cost: £4,000
  • Savings: £85 a year

ENERGY-EFFICIENT DOORS

  • Typical cost: £600 a door
  • Saving: £40 a year

SMART HEATING CONTROLS

  • Typical cost: £300
  • Saving: £130 a year

HOT WATER TANK INSULATION

  • Typical cost: £25
  • Saving: £20 a year

Prices based on a semi-detached property

Q. What has been the reaction?

A. Mixed. Many homeowners hoped they would be able to replace old windows on their property — but most won’t.

That is because only those home with single glazing are eligible.

Ed Davis, 35, from Great Barford, Beds, is disappointed with the scheme — in particular, those rules on windows.

He says: “I wanted to get new windows for my home but they are only offering to replace single glazing. My house has double glazing from the mid-Eighties, so they do need replacing but they won’t qualify for the discount.

“I’m sure there are lots of people in the same position who will also be disappointed.

“I haven’t seen any single glazing in homes for a long time.


“You only really see it in stately homes these days! The owners of posh old homes can afford to get it replaced if they needed to anyway.

“Lots of houses with old double glazing from the Seventies and Eighties would benefit from energy-efficient modern glazing.”

Others are annoyed that boilers and hot water storage tanks have been left out of the scheme.

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