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The Unintended Consequences of the UK Government’s Green Homes Grant

By Tammy James, Senior Marketing Executive, August 2020

Homeowners in England will soon receive vouchers of up to £10,000 for energy-saving home improvements thanks to the government’s new grant scheme announced in July.[1]

Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy and reduce emissions. The scheme will launch in September, providing qualifying households with vouchers for completing recommended energy efficiency measures.[2]

The scheme aims to create over 140,000 new jobs while helping the UK meet its 2050 target of achieving net zero carbon emissions. It will involve improving the insulation standards in public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, as well as retro-fitting low-carbon heating technology to social housing.[3]

According to the Chartered Institute of Building, Britain has the oldest housing stock in the developed world, with 8.5 million properties over 60 years old.[4] With ageing homes, there is a huge potential to improve building performance while cutting carbon emissions. Chancellor Rishi Sunak estimates that 650,000 homes will benefit from the grants as properly insulated homes could save people up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

As the UK’s homes become more energy efficient with the installation of insulation and double glazing, as well as the use of low-carbon heating and smart thermostats, there is a risk that these homes will become less ventilated as a result. Air-tight dwellings provide comparatively little air infiltration, causing warm, stale air to circulate around the property.

Over a quarter of British households (27%) already report an issue with condensation, damp, or mould in their home.[5] The unintended consequences of creating air-tight homes is creating environments with poor indoor air quality and increasing the opportunity of condensation dampness developing in the home.

 

Getting the best of both worlds

There is a way to enjoy the benefits of an air-tight, energy-efficient home whilst maintaining good levels of indoor air quality. As landlords and homeowners cash-in their vouchers to improve their residential properties, they should also ensure that their ventilation systems are up to scratch.

Air-tight dwellings with only trickle ventilators do not meet the standards demanded by Building Regulations. What’s more, the right ventilation system will not only help filtrate the air but could help keep houses cool during the summer months. 

Nuaire offers a range of energy-efficient and powerful ventilation systems for the residential market. To find out more, click here.

 

[1] Quality assurance at the heart of new £2 billion green home grants | 07 August 2020 | Gov.uk | https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quality-assurance-at-heart-of-new-2-billion-green-homes-grants

[2] Sunak to unveil £2bn home insulation scheme | 7 July 2020 | BBC.co.uk | https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53313640

[3] Don’t forget to let your home breathe | 21 July 2020 | Housing Management & Maintenance | https://www.housingmmonline.co.uk/news/dont-forget-to-let-your-home-breathe/

[4] CIOB Buildings under refurbishment and retrofit | Chartered Institute of Building | https://www.ciob.org/sites/default/files/Buildings%20under%20Refurb%20and%20Retrofit.pdf

[5] English Housing Survey Stock Condition 2018-19 | Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/860076/2018-19_EHS_Headline_Report.pdf

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