New homeowners are being offered an incentive to carry out green home improvements within 12 months of moving into their property – the chance to pocket up to £1,500 towards the cost.
The government-backed Green Deal Home Improvement Fund provides the opportunity for eligible participants to claim up to a total of £1,000 towards the cost of installing two energy efficient improvements from a list of 12 options – or £1,500 if the work is carried out within 12 months of them moving into the property.
Why go green?
While all of this might sound great, if you’re wondering exactly what the benefits of going green are, these offers might still not be enough to entice you. However, there are plenty of benefits to going green.
The first is making your home more energy efficient. If you’re fed up of spending freezing winters in a draughty house, energy efficiency measures that range from putting a draught snake by the door to investing in insulation and double glazing can make a huge difference. By investing in these you might even be able to turn down the temperature of your radiators without freezing.
That’s how you should imagine an energy efficient home: as a property that’s making the best use of the energy it uses. Imagine energy going into your home to produce heat and hot water, which appears as coloured smoke swirling around inside your house. How much of that smoke will pump straight from your radiators and out through the gaps around your doors, the non-insulated loft or the single glazed windows? That’s money you’re spending to heat your home literally leaking back out of it.
Make a saving
Which brings me to the next reason why carrying out energy efficient home improvements can be so worthwhile – it might save you money. For instance, swapping an ancient non-efficient boiler for a brand new condensing one could shave a significant sum off your gas bill, because new boilers produce more heat from the energy they use.
That’s the real incentive to making your home a little greener – you’re not just helping to save the planet but saving cash too. You’ll be able to see how much you’re saving when your first bills come in, and over the years it could add up to a pretty healthy sum.
What about the up-front costs?
Perhaps the thing that most puts you off investing in these home improvements is the up-front cost. While putting a draught excluder around your door is unlikely to break the bank, investing in a new boiler, having solid wall insulation put in or solar panels fitted doesn’t come cheap.
That’s where the re-vamped Green Deal could help. You can claim back up to £100 of the cost of your Green Deal assessment (used to show which energy efficient improvements your home could benefit from) if you take advantage of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. Plus, as I mentioned, there’s the chance to get £1,000 towards the combined cost of two of the listed improvements (or £1,500 if the improvements are made within the first year of you living there). The Green Deal website has a range of approved suppliers to choose from who can do the work, or you could find your own.
If you’re still unable to pay for the work up-front, you can arrange for a Green Deal finance plan to cover the cost. You then repay this through your electricity bill. If you move out of the property you are no longer responsible for repaying the loan and the person who moves in is.
Alternatively, you can arrange for alternative finance to cover the improvements. Ocean Finance offers home improvement loans for people with a range of circumstances, and even those with a not-so-perfect credit history, and you could borrow between £10,000 and £125,000.
Whatever work you choose to have done, and however you choose to fund it, there really are advantages to going green.
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