Understanding Energy Efficiency Grants and the Green Deal

Energy efficiency grants, such as the feed-in tariff, are available to many people in the United Kingdom who use renewable energy generated at home by way of things like wind, solar or hydropower. These grants allow people to be compensated for each unit of energy generated at home. For those who can generate more energy than they can actually use themselves, it is even possible to make a profit by selling the excess energy back into the grid. These grants are designed to encourage people to become more energy-efficient and self-reliant while also providing you with many innovative ways to save money.

 

The Green Deal is one of the government’s major environmental policies concerning homeowners all over the country. However, rather than being an energy efficiency grant in itself, it is actually a loan designed to help you pay for any modifications to your home which improve its energy efficiency rating and decrease its carbon emissions. Since it is a loan, you will need to pay it back sooner or later, but these payments should, effectively, be covered by the savings you will make thanks to lower energy bills. The Green Deal also applies to business owners. The scheme covers the following energy-saving home improvements:

 

Insulation, including cavity wall and loft insulation.

New windows with double glazing.

Newer and more energy-efficient central heating systems.

Any renewable energy generation features, such as solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity generators and heat pumps.

Draught-proofing home improvements.

 

Making these various home improvements provides a number of benefits, but the upfront investment can be extremely hefty. This is why the Green Deal exists to offers financial assistance, in the form of a generous loan, to help people make the necessary improvements to their homes when they don’t currently have the money to invest. By taking advantage of the scheme and making any eligible improvements to any home or business premises, you will be able to enjoy the following advantages:

 

Significantly lower gas and electricity bills all-round.

Increased property value.

Improved energy efficiency ratings will make the property more sellable.

Reduced carbon emissions to reduce your impact on the environment.

 

The Green Deal isn’t suitable for all properties. There are a large number of factors which determine whether or not your home or business will benefit from the scheme. Generally speaking, any home which is not particularly energy-efficient already should be able to benefit. This includes homes and business premises which have the following characteristics:

 

The property does not meet current building regulations and standards with regards to insulation. For example, the current building standards for loft insulation recommends an insulation thickness of 270mm, up from 100mm a few years ago.

The property has not been renovated or constructed in the last few years.

You have an old central heating system with little or nothing in the way of independent heating controls.

Any property where the owner is interested in using renewable energy generation methods at home, such as solar panels.

 

If you think your home might be able to benefit from becoming a part of the Green Deal scheme, then you should get a Green Deal assessment done. You can also contact any participating organization to find an assessor for you. All organizations supporting the Green Deal scheme should display the Green Deal Approved logo to prove it. Once you have chosen someone to come round and take a look at your property, they will provide you with a report which explains the various improvements you will be able make to your home. The report will also provide an estimate of how much money you can expect to save on your yearly energy bills once you have invested in the necessary upgrades.

 

If you choose to go ahead and make the recommended improvements, you will then need to decide how you are going to pay for them. Using the Green Deal scheme, you can take out a loan which will then be paid off in instalments added to your energy bills. However, if you prefer, you can simply pay for everything in advance and apply for a cashback, provided that you had a suitable assessment done beforehand.

Sam Jones is often asked where to find information on energy efficiency grants.He recommends the advice and information pages at uSwitch

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