Green grant update

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell provides a quick update on the government’s latest green initiative.

Glazing is included in some form within the Green Homes Grant scheme, it has been confirmed – albeit unofficially – by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Jon Vanstone, chair of Certass, has been in discussions with the department, and he updated the advice on the Certass TA forum on Facebook.

He said the scheme will certainly include replacing single pane glazing with double, but that is all that has been agreed “so far”. The inclusion of replacing double glazing with double glazing is yet to be confirmed.

Currently there are four main primary measures, which are: external wall insulation; cavity wall (combined with loft) insulation; underfloor insulation; and room in roof.

Glazing is not included, so will have to be combined with another measure to be applicable for the grant scheme.

There is to be no early voucher system likely to be agreed, so the market is waiting for an imminent decision on whether double glazing can be replaced under the scheme.

The £2 billion set aside for the scheme will be split accordingly: £1 billion on the ‘able to pay’ market; £500,000 million on low income households (means tested); and £500,000 million on social housing.

Control of the voucher scheme is yet to be decided, as is the method for assessment for the voucher system.

The Simple Energy Advice site is unlikely to be used to determine grants because it is open to potential manipulation of data, and so a form of physical assessment is likely to be required, although EPC data is likely to be deemed ok.

The registration of work is almost certainly going to be into TrustMark, which is currently the registration point for ECO work. Jon points out that this enables the collation of energy data in one place.

“However, installers can join TrustMark through Certass either on our portal or via the office at only £5 per month as we are waving the scheme joining fee for the next three months to help our members,” Jon said.

“How the voucher scheme will be designed will be consulted upon in the next week, and we are working with other companies to try and ensure a good process for glazing.

“We are also continuing to raise the point that government is damaging our industry with its current path and if double glazing is included as replaceable then we have a difficult time ahead.”

The GGF is also “continuing to crank up the pressure on the government”, it announced this week.

In one letter to Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for BEIS (Business Energy and Industrial Strategy), the GGF highlighted concerns over the scheme’s criteria for approved installers and assessors.

The GGF opposes the prospect of PAS 2030 (the standard for retrofit installers) being part of the criteria and proposes that the scheme operates to the Competent Person Scheme (CPS) rules.

John Agnew, GGF’s managing director, said: “The GGF is against the prospect of installers having to comply with PAS 2030 if it is part of this scheme’s criteria, on several levels. Firstly, there is the cost that companies would have to invest in a scheme that may deliver very little in return. Secondly, the process and time it will take companies to attain PAS 2030 could be lengthy and it can be an expensive process for SMEs with a relatively low return. The Competent Person Scheme rules should suffice for any energy efficient scheme. It would then open up the opportunities to most companies in the industry.”

Unfortunately, it seems as though rogue companies are not missing an opportunity to rip off unsuspecting homeowners.

According to the GGF, they are contacting consumers claiming the Green Homes Grant Scheme is now operational and promising homeowners £5K off the price of their glazing.