02 August 2020
What is the Green Homes Grant missing?
By Elta Fans
02 August 2020
John Bradley, Managing Director of Homevent
What is the Green Homes Grant?
In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said families will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving changes, such as insulation or a new boiler, with the poorest getting up to £10,000. As well as improving the UK’s energy efficiency levels, it will also bring new jobs, which is of course good news.
How does it affect the ventilation sector?
Anything that helps reduce heat losses and carbon emissions from a home has to be welcomed. However, new or additional insulation and more airtight windows can reduce the natural ventilation in a property to the point where it creates an environment conducive to mould growth and increased pollutant levels.
What are the risks?
With the new scheme expected to see work start in many homes during what will be the UK’s next “condensation season”, I expect many homeowners to find that they have condensation dampness problems the following year if ventilation is not properly considered and incorporated.
I would expect to see many homeowners that benefit from warmer homes and lower bills having to face some undesirable unintended consequences of thermal improvements. These would be in the form of mould and poor indoor air quality if they don’t address ventilation as part of thermal improvement works.
How can this be avoided?
The provision of a low energy mechanical ventilation system that can complement thermal improvements need not cost the earth. In the vast majority of homes with little or no existing purpose-provided ventilation measures, a modern low energy ventilation system that will ventilate the whole property, can cost as little as £700-1,000. This would include the home survey and system design, supply, installation and commissioning and also notification of the system installed to the local Building Control Body. Many will agree that is a small extra price to pay for a warm, energy efficient and healthy home.
Quality is key
It’s crucial that the people carrying out insulation improvements as a result of this funding fully understand and value indoor air quality. As such, it’s positive that the Government has stated that any tradespeople carrying out insulation improvements must register for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation, which will ensure they follow required standards. For example, PAS 2035:2019 is the report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which provides a framework based on a ‘whole-house-approach’ to renovations.
While this is generally positive news for the UK’s housing sector, it’s crucial that homeowners and contractors consider the provision of adequate ventilation as part of any thermal improvements works under this new government scheme.