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Darlington homeowners to receive up to £5,000 grant

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The Chancellor announced on Wednesday 8th July in his mini Budget some interesting news for Darlington homeowners and Darlington landlords. Rishi Sunak is going to give ‘The Green Homes Grant' of up to 5,000 to cover two-thirds of the costs of environmentally friendly upgrades to your Darlington property, with the homeowner covering the other third. There are also enhanced grants of 10,000 for the poorest households where 100% of the cost will be met by the Government.

This is nothing new mind you. The coalition Government in 2013 announced The Green Deal. That deal was in theory to have been a help for the builders, energy saving and home improvement industry, as the Government hoped many would take up environmentally friendly improvements to save energy (and ultimately greenhouse gases). Yet by the time it was brought to an end two years later only 14,000 households had applied, costing the taxpayer 238m (or 17,000 per household). That doesn't sound good value to me – yet who am I to comment?

Anyway, let's not be negative, as improving our homes makes sense – after all, research shows Brits have the draughtiest homes in Europe. A recent survey suggests UK homes “leak” heat up to three times more quickly than more energy-efficient homes on the continent. That means they're using the boiler up to three times more than they should. Not only does this use up more energy it wears boilers down more quickly, meaning companies like Smart Boiler Repair are likely in high demand.

Data from 80,000 smart thermostats across the EU were reviewed to measure how quickly a home at 20 C inside cooled once the heating was turned off (when the outside temperature was 0 C). Within 5 hours, the average British home dropped by 3 C, the French came in second at 2.5 C yet the Germans came in at just 1 C, meaning British homes need more heating to keep them warm (contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions). UK housing stock is notoriously under-insulated, meaning homeowners need to have their heating on higher and longer to have any chance of being warm. Most heat escapes quickly and easily out of the loft, but ask most UK homeowners and they'll say that their house was badly insulated when they bought it. To make matters worse, many loft spaces in UK homes are in need of renovation. Our damp, cold winters and warm, humid summers are the perfect breeding ground for pests such as woodworm and termites, which burrow into the roof beams and destroy them. This leads to loose roof tiles and insulation falling out of place, making it even harder to keep a house warm. If you're thinking of insulating your loft, the first thing you need to do is visit a pest control site like to have the pests removed. Only then will it be worth insulating your roof.

The chancellor has allotted 2bn to the green scheme, which pays for two thirds of the cost of the upgrade and stated that more than 650,000 homes would be upgraded. This could save those households a total of 195m a year in heating bills (or the equivalent of 300 a year per household), cutting greenhouse gases and saving jobs in the construction industry. The grant can be applied for from September and is open to Darlington homeowners and private sector Darlington landlords. Applications must be made before March 2021 and the Treasury have stated about half of the fund would go to households with the lowest incomes (how low is still to be announced), with an enhanced grant of up to 10,000, saving them up to 600 per annum each on their heating bills.

The average Darlington home annually produces 4.440 tonnes of CO2, compared to the national average of 4.101 tonnes

Due to the particular individual nature of the properties in Darlington and their construction type, with suitable improvements in insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, Government statistics state that this could be reduced to 2.519 tonnes for Darlington homes if suitable work (as per the Green Homes Grant) was carried out.

Why is this important? Well UK householders spend 34.735bn a year on their electric and gas bills – this is a lot of money. In fact, looking specifically at Darlington properties …

Darlington householders spend 738.51 per year on

heating their homes (compared to the national average of 669.34 per year)

Yet, if Darlington householders carried out the energy improvements that ‘The Green Homes Grant' suggests their energy bills for heating alone would reduce to 531.52 per year … quite a saving over a decade and beyond (enough to buy a decent holiday – whatever one of those is!).

So, with Darlington homeowners and Darlington landlords being able to spend the grant on loft, floor and wall insulation, low carbon gas boilers, heat pumps, double or even triple-glazed windows, energy-efficient doors and low energy lighting … everyone should win – the environment, the economy and household budgets. More details on the scheme should be released by the Government in August.

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