The UK government’s £3bn plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings, described as an essential part of building back greener from coronavirus and reaching net zero emissions by 2050, is now underway.
Homes, schools and hospitals across England are all part of the plans that ministers claim will help support over 100,000 jobs in green construction.
Homeowners can sign up for big savings on upgrades to their homes under the government’s £2bn Green Homes Grant, with an additional £1bn announced to improve the energy efficiency of publicly owned buildings.
The Green Homes Grant scheme will see the government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements up to £5,000. Those homeowners with low-incomes, including those on certain benefits, are eligible for a grant covering up to 100% of the cost of works up to £10,000. The scheme will improve the energy efficiency of over 600,000 homes.
Grants will be offered to cover green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs, to the installation of double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating like heat pumps or solar thermal.
It will cut people’s energy bills and carbon emissions, whilst also supporting over 100,000 jobs in green construction for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople across the UK.
The launch of the Green Homes Grant forms part of a wider plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings expected to support an additional 120,000 jobs, which also includes:
- £1bn to boost the energy efficiency of public buildings, including schools and hospitals through a Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund;
- New measures to ensure nearly three-million privately rented homes are upgraded to modern energy efficiency standards by 2028;
- £50m to improve the energy efficiency of social housing.
Business and energy secretary Alok Sharma said: “Our plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings and help build back better is good news for jobs, the environment and people’s back pockets, as we reduce emissions and help cut energy bills.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We promised to support jobs and protect the environment – and the Green Homes Grant delivers on this. We’re giving homeowners, landlords and local authorities the funding they need to hire local tradespeople and make our homes more energy efficient. By supporting the green van men and women, we’ll save money, save jobs and save the planet.”
£500m of the of the Green Homes Grant scheme has been assigned for local authorities to provide green home improvements for households with an income of under £30,000. In a further boost, the government is making £50m available for social housing through a demonstrator project for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).
This UK-wide demonstrator scheme will see grants supplied to upgrade the energy efficiency of over 2000 of the worst-performing social homes. It is estimated that those living in upgraded properties will save between £300 and £500 on their energy bills each year. As well as helping meet the country’s net zero emissions target, ministers say the SHDF Demonstrator will support up to 3,200 jobs in the green energy sector.
The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) will help public sector organisations in England, including central government departments and their agencies, local authorities, schools and NHS Trusts, to install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. Installations under the PSDS are expected to support up to 30,000 low-carbon jobs.
Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive, Energy UK, said: “Building back better can begin at home. Improving the energy efficiency of our houses makes them healthier and more comfortable to live in and can cut hundreds of pounds a year off bills – all while reducing emissions and creating jobs. It shows how a green recovery focused on net zero can benefit the environment, the economy and customers.”