The Government has made its first major policy announcement on the Green Homes Grant since its launch last month, and to a point, it’s what we expected, with perhaps a twist!
- Homeowners in England will be able to claim vouchers up to £5,000 for energy efficient home improvements
- Low-income households can claim a maximum of £10,000
- Primary Improvements will be:
- Solid wall, Under-Floor, Cavity Wall or Roof Insulation
- Air Source or Ground Source Heat Pumps
- Solar Thermal
- ‘Further Energy Saving Measures‘ include:
- Double or triple/secondary glazing, when replacing single glazing
- Upgrading to energy efficient doors
- Hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats/heating controls
- Trades need to be signed up to Trustmark
The full announcement made today (Tuesday, August 4) can be viewed here.
What does this mean for installers?
The announcement from the Government today means we are adjusting our position slightly, based on product. The opportunities for window replacement are small as we highlighted in our analysis of the Green Homes Grant last month. Opportunities for door replacement appear to be greater.
As we highlighted in our July analysis, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has already made it clear that if a property has an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) of Level C or above, it is unlikely to qualify for the Green Homes Grant.
This represents approximately 40% of the UK housing stock. These properties won’t qualify for insulation, let alone energy efficient windows. And for the window and door industry, the pickings are even slimmer. That’s because the government has clarified what we thought we already knew.
‘Further energy saving measures’ may include double or triple/secondary glazing, but only ‘when replacing single glazing’.
When did you last replace a single-glazed window?
The latest figures published in the English House Condition Survey show that of the 23.2 million properties studies, it recorded that 85% of homes in England had full double glazing, up from 71% of homes in 2008.
Industry analysts go further, in fact, Palmer suggests that by the end of this year, the figure will be nearly 95%.
The window and door replacement market is being driven by second, even third time replacements.
Energy efficient doors
The market potential the Green Homes Grant offers installers of ‘energy efficient doors’ a little greater but with the same caveats in place e.g. door replacements are a secondary not a primary measure, so homeowners need to be committing a sizeable chunk of their £5,000 voucher to primary home insulation measures before turning their attention to the replacement of their front or back door.
What is an energy efficient door?
We know you fit them every day but what matters here is how the Government has defined them. And it’s done so by what appears at first glance to be rather arbitrarily. To be exact, the scheme says secondary measures include upgrading to energy efficient doors (where replacing doors installed prior to 2002).
This is fleshed out in Rishi Sunak’s Summer Statement on 8/7/20 in a separate document, Green Homes Voucher Scheme Available Measures which can be found here.
We’re guessing (and our colleagues at FENSA may be able to offer more clarity?), but April 2002 was the month that the Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme (or FENSA) was set-up. Now, clearly, not every door installed after 2002 has been FENSA registered but it makes sense as a cut-off point because it allows a search to be made against a property.
A uPVC panel door fitted pre-2002 isn’t going to look massively different from one fitted after it, so as an administrator of the scheme, how do you stop people claiming that their door was installed pre-2002? Well, you could search against the FENSA register! We want to emphasise here that we don’t know for sure but this would seem to make sense?
What if a door isn’t on the FENSA register?
Many properties will have changed hands since 2002 and invoices, payments and receipts will have been lost along the way. So, where does that leave the current owners of those properties? Well if it’s an old uPVC panel, all we’d say is that it’s very hard to prove the age of the door without the date of installation, so it can only be a matter of interpretation.
We’d wish the administrators of the scheme luck in defining the age of an older door either side of the 1st January 2002 cut-off point!
How big could the Green Homes Grant replacement door market be?
Well big! According to Palmer, around one million doors (give or take a few hundred thousand), were supplied into the home improvement market either side of the Millennium. Of these 4.5% were aluminium, 2.5% were composites, wood made up 46% of the sales and uPVC panels also 46%, plus 1% ‘other sales’. In fact, uPVC panel sales continued to grow right up until 2006, then losing share to composites, and not being overtaken by them until 2016.*
That is a lot of uPVC panels fitted before 2002 and after it, some of which will be on the FENSA register and others won’t be. Similarly, some will have been replaced and others won’t.
Could green Homes Grant vouchers be applied to the replacement of pre-2002 patio and French doors?
The government’s definition of ‘doors’ isn’t specific to product type, the only requirement (at least cited so far), is that the door should have been fitted ‘pre-2002’.
So ‘yes’ as it stands, the voucher could be applied to part-fund the replacement of a patio. (We think this is a slight anomaly when a pre-2002 double glazed patio would deliver a not dissimilar level of energy efficient to a pre-2002 double glazed window.)
How Do I Sign-up For the TrustMark Scheme?
While additional clarity is needed, and we need to remember that neither windows nor doors are a primary measure, the Green Homes Grant at the very least, in relation to the latter, seems to represent an area of new opportunity.
The government has made it clear that to qualify as an approved installation business, you need to be part of the TrustMark scheme. This was discussed in detail in our previous post. However, while a separate application will be needed, as competent person schemes, members of CORGI Fenestration, CERTASS and FENSA, should qualify automatically but will still need to go through a standalone application process with TrustMark. Applications to TrustMark can be made here.
Is it worth me registering as a supplier into the Green Homes Grant Scheme?
This is a decision which you’re going to need to make, we wouldn’t profess to tell you how to run your business. We’ve taken the decision to register our own retail business, T&K Home Improvements, to the TrustMark scheme because we believe that the information released so far by the government suggests that there are opportunities. Particularly in door replacements, if less so in the replacements of single-glazed windows.
It’s also worth noting here that the stock of TrustMark membership has probably just rocketed, as the government will promote it as the standard for installation. Regardless of what you see back directly from Green Homes Grant vouchers, it will be beneficial to be part of.
There is also a softer benefit here in increased customer awareness of the energy efficiency gains windows and doors can deliver; whether home improvements are funded by the Green Homes Grant or by homeowners themselves.
How do I manage homeowner expectation in the meantime?
We’d refer you to our initial analysis here. The fundamentals haven’t changed. The opportunities for window and door replacement are limited and the focus remains on energy efficiency, not lifestyle, so to reiterate, £5,000 to fund new bifolds are out. As a homeowner, you might have a few hundred pounds toward replacing your old pre-2002 patio, but only after insulation your loft, walls and floors.
For more information about how you can become an Emplas Approved Installer, or if you want to find out more about the Green Homes Grant, contact our team today. You can fill out our online contact form and a member of our team will be back in touch.
*Trends in the Market for Entrance Doors in Home Improvements in Great Britain by Door Leaf Material 2000 to 2020 (Thousand Doors), Palmer Market Research.