Following the announcement of the government’s proposed home insulation scheme in the UK this week, we provide a brief overview of the potential benefits of the scheme and how it may be best applied to individual retrofit projects.
Under the Green Homes Grant, due to launch in September, homeowners will be able to apply online for a voucher that covers at least two-thirds of the cost of their recommended energy efficient retrofit works, as quoted by an accredited local supplier.
Benefits of the Scheme
- Save household bills for homeowners for a reduced capital cost
- Supporting insulation manufacturers and local contractors, stimulating the economy
- Reduce carbon emissions from retrofitted dwellings
- Upgrading existing housing stock and energy performance standards
Which houses will benefit the most?
While the scheme has been criticised for not addressing energy efficiency for the rental sector which generally has the worst energy efficiency standards, there is no doubt that many dwellings will benefit. This especially applies to those built before the 1980’s, which were often constructed with no insulation in the floor and walls, and not enough insulation in the roof. Some of these properties may also still have single glazing or an outdated non-condensing boiler, which can be detrimental to energy performance.
Also, with all properties now needing to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for sales and lettings, the scheme will enable many properties to boost their EPC rating up to and potentially beyond the required ‘E’ rating.
What upgrades should be made?
Most properties will already have an Energy Performance Certificate, which can be found on the government register using the postcode search function: https://www.epcregister.com/
As well as showing the EPC rating and estimated household bills, the document also outlines the recommended energy efficiency improvements specific to the dwelling, including predicted capital costs, potential household bills savings and also how each improvement would impact the EPC rating.
Often the most practical upgrade is to provide more mineral wool quilt insulation within a pitched roof at joist level, since these spaces are generally accessible via a loft hatch and therefore do not involve removing any of the building structure to carry out the retrofit.
However, other fabric improvements could involve injecting cavity wall insulation or insulating suspended timber ground floors by temporarily removing the floorboards for the retrofit works, which could be a good alternative option for period housing with solid walls which can be problematic to insulate.
It is also anticipated that the scheme will cover upgrades to single glazed windows and old, inefficient boilers, which will certainly have a significant benefit in terms of reducing heat loss and household bills for these properties.
For energy efficiency advice for all domestic and non-domestic projects, please get in touch.
Written by Tom King | Sustainability Consultant