From: Victoria Brocklesby, COO, Origin
When the UK Government introduced the Green Homes Grant Scheme last September, it was heralded as a revolutionary programme to help homeowners and landlords upgrade their properties with energy-saving features. Except, it didn’t go to plan.
The scheme, initially designed to run up to 31st March 2021, and then extended to March 2022, has been scrapped by the Government a year early because it failed to deliver on its promise to promote energy efficiency and improve the carbon footprint of the UK.
Whilst there is no denying the strength of the concept, it didn’t work in reality for a few different reasons. The biggest flaw was the serious lack of information to explain how the scheme would work, both for homeowners and those who work within the industry.
There were also complicated caveats that directly impacted those of us working in the fenestration industry. There were two distinct categories, primary and secondary. Only secondary measures applied to the fenestration industry, however, homeowners could not qualify for a secondary measure without first applying for at least one primary measure, such as cavity wall insulation.
Installation was another issue. Only tradespeople registered with TrustMark or the Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation could carry out work under the scheme. The process to acquire these accreditations is time-consuming, and the demand, especially for secondary measure work, was limited, so many installers didn’t bother registering. This meant that even if a homeowner wanted to carry out work under the scheme, the pool of tradespeople available to do so was severely limited.
On the face of it, the Green Homes Grant Scheme seemed to be a partnership born in heaven, with homeowners wanting to make energy-saving upgrades to their homes, installers ready and raring to do the work, and the Government financially supplementing the movement. However, it was far from the perfect oil painting.
At Origin, we saw an initial spike in web traffic with people searching to improve their homes. But once more information on the scheme was available, and it was clear it would be difficult for homeowners to upgrade their doors and windows, this dropped off quickly and minimal enquiries were received connected to the scheme.
This clearly demonstrates the shortfall between the initial proposal by the Government and the reality. Kudos to them for trying something new and different, but it is obvious why they have decided to scrap it early.