With summer well and truly underway now, the insulation in your loft’s probably the last thing on your mind. However, there’s a new scheme in the offing that’s promising thousands of pounds to English households looking to boost their energy efficiency.

Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme, which boils down to a voucher worth up to £5,000 toward your costs when you’re “greening up” your home. That could mean anything from fitting insulation and blocking draughts to more complicated plumbing and heat pump installations.

Big annual savings and new job opportunities

Above and beyond cutting down your immediate costs, boosting your home’s energy efficiency is good news for the environment – and for your own wallet as well. According to the Chancellor, more than 600,000 households in England could benefit from the scheme, which should see them ending up with consistently lower energy bills. In fact, it’s estimated that savings could hit as much as £600 a year for many on electricity and gas bills alone. At the same time, getting all this work done on England’s homes is set to open up around 100,000 new job opportunities.

As Alok Sharma, the Business and Energy Secretary, puts it, "Green home improvements will save people money on their energy bills, help to cut carbon emissions and create new work for many thousands of builders, plumbers and other tradespeople.”

Who qualifies for Home Improvement Vouchers?

For families on lower incomes the benefit could be even greater, with the possibility of getting the entire cost of the job covered by grants as high as £10,000. As always, the rules are never simple, but here’s a run-down of the basics:

  • If you’re installing insulation or low-carbon heating (or upgrading what you already have to recommended levels), you can get some support with your costs.
  • If you qualify as above, you can then get help with “secondary” work like draught-proofing or double-glazing.
  • You can only get funding for secondary improvements up to the amount you’re getting for primary ones. For most people, the vouchers will end up covering about two thirds of the total cost of the work. There’s a general maximum of £5,000.
  • For people with less money coming in, the vouchers can cover up to £10,000 instead, and can cover the full cost of the improvements made. To qualify, you’ll need to be receiving an income or disability-based benefit like Jobseekers Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.

When can I apply?

There’ll be a list of approved local tradepeople who can do the work for you, with the vouchers becoming available around the end of September. You’ll be able to get advice on how to register for and get the best use from the scheme on the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website.