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GUEST COMMENT: Green Homes Grant scheme marks a turning point

GUEST COMMENT: Green Homes Grant scheme marks a turning point

Green Homes Grants are a turning point in our recovery and our future, says Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark.

The Green Homes Grant scheme, which will see a £2billion injection into improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes, is a turning point in not only the construction and energy industry’s recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic but for our future.

The emphasis on job retention and creation, apprenticeships and trainee schemes – as well as relief through tax-related areas – is very much welcomed. This is a chance to update outdated procedures, retrain our workforce to combat the shortage of skilled traders and technicians to deliver both existing and new technologies as they come to the market, and develop and install new products in our working practices. The time for innovation and development is with us and if we can all embrace this opportunity; the industry may emerge stronger from the crisis.

However, the pandemic should not be the only thing on our mind – the Green Homes Grant scheme is the kickstart the construction and energy sector need to help the UK reach the target of being net zero by 2050 and we all have a part to play to ensure we meet this target. We recognise that the plumbing and heating industry, alongside other energy sectors, can make a significant contribution to reaching that goal.

Around 24 million homes will need to be updated during the next 30 years for us to hit that target. This is an opportunity for us to drive a developing market place that will see electrification play a large part along with renewables and hydrogenation. Circa 44 million gas appliances will need conversion or replacement and manufacturers of conventional gas appliances are already developing more fuel-friendly versions to be used. There is an opportunity for new markets to be explored and retraining to take place.

It is good news that the work funded through the voucher scheme is a vital component in us reaching the target and in the Whole House Retrofit approach. We firmly believe it is important that a property is looked at holistically. We must start the delivery of a whole house approach and look at the ‘fabric first’ so we can address the overall efficiency of the building, before looking at the heating services. Through a whole house approach, a property owner can determine what measures are needed for optimising home energy efficiency and ensuring the best value for money.

TrustMark is proud to be a part of the scheme and to be working with industry sectors to support the delivery of quality work. Consumer confidence is not only essential to the recovery of the UK’s economy, but also to the protection and creation of key jobs that will support the long-term delivery of quality improvements in and around the home.

Collectively, we can play a vital role in the delivery of low carbon homes, providing healthier and more comfortable living conditions, whilst helping reach the goal of zero carbon by 2050.

The Green Homes Grant scheme will enable us to do this, and allow eligible property owners to pay for energy efficiency improvements that will not only cut energy bills but will also create and support thousands of jobs whilst addressing the climate emergency the world is facing.

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