~ How companies can make the most of the Green Homes Grant ~
To achieve net zero targets by 2050 the government must invest up to £70 billion in the built environment each year — that is enough money to run three and a half Olympic games every year between now and 2050. The Green Homes Grant is one of the Government funding initiatives to reduce emissions by encouraging homeowners to invest in energy efficiency while creating new jobs in the sector. Here, Martin Hurn, event director at net zero pioneer Futurebuild, speaks to Ian Rippin, CEO of Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Certification and David Pierpoint, founder of The Retrofit Academy and Osmosis Consult to understand how to use Government funding effectively and ensure lasting change in the retrofitting industry.
Retrofitting and renovating existing homes is one of the best ways to tackle fuel poverty, reduce energy waste and put the UK back on track to meet its 2050 target. Existing buildings currently account for 34 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is why the Chancellor announced a £3.05 billion retrofitting investment, as part of the Green Homes Grant. Hopefully, in autumn, further funding will be announced during the Conservative’s comprehensive spending review.
Consumers investing correctly
£1.5 billion of the Green Homes Grant funding is allocated to homeowners themselves. Anyone that wants to upgrade their home to improve energy efficiency can apply for vouchers of up to £10,000 per household. While this funding can significantly reduce the upfront installation cost, consumers should seek expertise from retrofit experts to ensure they use the money to make the most valuable changes, both in terms of energy saving and sustainability.
Engaging with consumers about sustainable solutions will also enable long-term investment and growth of sustainable industries. “UK households could save £7.5 billion a year on energy bills, money that could be reinvested into the recovering economy and announce a new age of low carbon retrofit, lasting 30 years,” stated Pierpoint. “To achieve net zero, consumers must be educated about energy efficiency and what will make the largest difference. After the Grant, the industry should work with the Government to further invest in consumer education to increase awareness about energy efficiency and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives.”
Companies using funding effectively
The Government’s investment in the environmental sector gives firms an opportunity to invest in technologies and people to improve productivity and profits. However, with the grant scheme only expected to last six months, companies should consider how they can maintain this growth.
“Companies can provide high quality work by investing in staff training and achieving MCS certification,” explained Rippin. “We know that consumers are proactively looking for an installer that is certified and holds a quality mark because they can trust their quality of work and commitment to consumer care. Additionally, to receive grant money from the Government, homeowners must use an MCS certified contractor to install their renewable system.”
The Green Homes Grant will create thousands of jobs, encourage economic growth in the construction industry and help homeowners to reduce energy usage in an affordable way. While these are all positive changes, we also need to look at how Government and industry can work together to continue making significant improvements in sustainability.
“The Government needs to invest in renewable energy apprenticeships and the wider industry to attract more people into careers,” stated Rippin. “Investing in future generations will ensure high-quality tradespeople enter the retrofitting and renewable energy industries and maintain quality standards.”
The Green Homes Grant will help us get closer to our goal of net zero by 2050, but it is only a small portion of the £70 billion we need. If the industry uses this grant to invest in attracting more people to work in retrofitting, gaining certification and educating consumers about energy efficiency, we can encourage the Government to provide further, long-term support to become a net zero nation.
If you want to see innovative retrofitting processes in person, or showcase a technology you’ve developed, register your interest in Futurebuild 2021 on our website https://www.futurebuild.co.uk.