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Green Homes Grant replacement may help landlords slash carbon

It appears that the government is considering a replacement for the ill-fated Green Homes Grant, which was to have helped thousands of landlords improve their properties.

The government announced in March that the £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant programme - which was for landlords and owner occupiers - would end with almost no notice. 

After launching last September, by the end of February there were over 123,000 applications for the grants but just 28,000 vouchers had been issued and only 5,800 energy-efficient installations made - the scheme was then axed almost overnight because of delivery reasons, with too few skilled fitters.

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Now however - and with environmental improvements to domestic properties seen as increasingly vital to combat climate change - it appears the government may be about to have a further rethink.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told the BBC that he is speaking with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to bring back an “equivalent” plan.

In the same interview he suggested that the price of heat pumps - seen as a long term replacement for carbon-heavy gas boilers - could be halved.

Kwarteng told the Today programme that energy supplier Octopus suggested the price of heat pumps could “very quickly” come down to as low as £5,000 - at the moment they are typically ranging from £10,000 to £35,000.

The original Green Homes Grant scheme collapsed in chaos early this year with a shortage of accredited engineers registered with TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality scheme for installers, highlighted as a reason landlords and owners were unable to make the upgrades the initiative should have enabled. 

Within the Green Homes Grant, landlords and owners are eligible to receive vouchers towards heat pump installation.  

 

Analysis by the National Residential Landlords Association shows that only five per cent of private rented households have received government help to fund energy efficiency measures despite having the greatest need.

Although more of those classed as fuel poor live in the sector, private rented households received only half of the help given to those in the social sector.  

According to the English Housing Survey, a third of private rented sector housing was built before 1919. This is the hardest to treat and accounts for a larger proportion of the sector than for any other housing tenure. Across England’s entire housing stock, 84 per cent of properties built before 1919 had an energy rating or D or worse.

With 62 per cent of private rented homes having an energy rating of D or below this will largely account for why 37 per cent of all households classed as fuel poor are in the private rented sector compared to 23 per cent in the social sector.

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    Heat pumps are expensive to install, expensive to run, hugely disruptive to retro fit (larger rads & pipework needed) and do not provide sufficient heat or hot water in our climate and will require a top up source unless you have a super insulated modern house - yet the Govt thinks we should all fit them!

    People who live in fuel poverty are often living in electric only houses. We make clean green electricity and yet because of the green subsidises put on our bills (upto 24%) this becomes an expensive way to heat homes.

    There is no way anyone with any sense is going to remove a gas boiler and put in a heat pump so the Govt is on a hiding to nothing IMO.

    If you want to move away from gas put the green subsidies on gas instead of electricity and increase our wind & solar power generation.

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    Our local counci is using the ECO penalty charges levied on our energy bills to subsidise owners of semi and detached houses in my area with new gas boilers for free!

    Less affluent neighbours in mid terrace houses or flats are excluded because they use less energy than those in larger more expensive houses.

    Where's the sense or fairness in such a policy?

     
  • John Ahmed

    Heat pumps are not the answer!

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    Given that we produce only one percent of the global green house gases and China produces 28% and will increase until 2030, USA 15% and India 7% maybe we need a different tack. Bashing landlords wont save the planet. Dealing with China and the USA just might!
    I'm getting out of the market because the Government is making it all just too difficult with stupid suggestions. Heat pumps don't work and new builds go up without heat pumps air pumps or solar panels. Get the building right first and deal with the main polluters!

  • Theodor Cable

    @Sandra
    Well said Sandra on all issues.

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    Simple answer for everyone and would save a fortune. Reclassify a D grade EPC to a C grade. (Bit like what they have done with Students cos the teachers were too generous with their grading) only the worst EPC’s would then be affected

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    We would welcome any sensible green solution because of the danger of carbon monoxide from burning carbon based fuels such as coal, wood, oil, gas etc. It is often not understood that coal and wood are usually far worse polluters than gas as long as the gas central heating boiler is modern, well installed and well maintained by properly qualified people. We surely need to cut out the worst offenders in the heating world which surely we can do now? Our fear is that restricting ventilation will cause other problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning - the gas emergency service doesn't even test gas appliances for carbon monoxide, a deadly gas which can kill in tiny amounts and cannot be sensed using human senses. Surely if the fuel industry and particularly gas is to be respected it should start with putting this right? Surely a safe gas boiler is also an energy efficient gas boiler? Stephanie Trotter, OBE President & Director CO-Gas Safety, independent registered charity committed to preventing deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning & other gas dangers and helping those exposed to CO and their families.

  • George Dawes

    It’s not like co2 is the real enemy ,

    Studies have shown that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth

    So less co2 less plant growth ? Err and that’s a good thing ?

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    Mayor of L’don pushing Emissions Charges out to North Circular /South Circular Perimeter Roads where I have some properties and pollution is already very high, so he is making those areas far worse, more traffic avoiding going into the zone hence skirting around the outside, currently the Pollution in distributed more sparsely over a greater area but now he is going to concentrate it heavily in specific areas, how is that going to help he will kill more off.
    Scrapping existing diesel cars how does that help, it must take a huge amount of energy to produce an Electric Car replacement, Carbon, plastic etc, save that Carbon & Plastic (seems to be a lot of that) now. It must take a great deal of energy to dispose or meltdown existing diesels, metals, plastics, computer control systems etc instead of taking advantage of the natural life they have left in them.

  • George Dawes

    My properties were built c 1860 but I managed to get two c’s and a b , so if you put the right stuff in it’s achievable

    1. Low energy lighting
    2. Double glazing
    3. Plenty of roof insulation
    4. Up to date boiler
    5. Cross fingers and hope for the best

    Sorted

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    I have all the above in my victorian properties and they are Ds. I am surprised without wall insulation you can get a C - when were they done? Some of my properties have lost upto 10 points in the last 10 years.

     
  • George Dawes

    The thing that made the biggest difference and brought from d to c was the lighting … truly bizarre. I suppose if you have loads of lights dotted all over the place it accumulates and makes a difference though .

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    No need for Mr Miller to tell us the Council will never lose a case, that’s a fore gone conclusion, they’ be dealing with their Magistrate friend all part of the same establishment, although Tom is a nice man I think he is or was a bit of a LL himself.

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    Can anyone help me. I had over 120 hmos I pay for the heating most of the properties have gas central heating and I have tried most energy conservation methods including fitting a rated boilers loft and wall insulation and none make any difference to the amount of energy used. I therefore question what is the point of of doing any energy conservation. Not only am I trying to do my bit to save the Planet but I would like to save on heating costs but none of the energy conservation measures make any difference. The only thing that cuts energy use is to fit pre-paid metres to each bedroom in my HMO and this cuts electric usage by nearly 50%

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    Not a hope while someone else pays the Bill I know that one. I have seen heating on full blast in good weather even when no one home. When I had the occasion to go there to do maintenance, some Tenants came home, they said hot in here isn’t it but didn’t go for Thermostat or Programmer instead flung windows open and left heating on as it was.

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    Its a bit like fining LL’s for the Tenants Anti-Social Behaviour it doesn’t work, if it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.

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