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Greener homes

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Greener homes

The Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) has welcomed moves to help households become more energy efficient but has called for steps to ensure value for money and savings.

From the end of September, builders, plumbers, and other tradespeople across England will need a government-backed seal of approval to provide their services as part of the new £2 billion Green Homes Grant.

The new scheme will see the government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements of over 600,000 homes, supporting over 100,000 jobs in green construction.

Tradespeople must register for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation to take part in the scheme.

The moves will cover green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs, to the installation of low-carbon heating, like heat pumps or solar thermal – measures that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

The government plans to set out further details of the range of measures included and how consumers in England will be able to claim the new vouchers, which are worth up to £5,000 for homeowners.

Households on low income can receive vouchers covering 100% of the cost of the improvements, up to a maximum of £10,000.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, says: “It is great to see more details on the Green Homes Grant scheme to support households to become more energy efficient and reduce energy bills.

“We have long called for use of a TrustMark to ensure homeowners are using accredited tradespeople and simple energy advice service for homeowners, so I’m pleased to see these proposals taken forward.

“But it’s very disappointing that there is no requirement to compare energy pre and post retrofit to help ensure value for money and energy savings.

“It is clear the government needs to urgently set out a National Retrofit strategy, with adequate funding to retrofit the homes, which require upgrading and help meet our net zero targets.”

Chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry, says: “The Green Homes Grant is a really welcome boost for the building industry as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

“The vouchers will be a significant benefit to households wanting to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their energy bills, while providing much needed work for accredited installers at this difficult time.”