This is an edited version of our Editor's Comment from our September/October 2020 issue.

The start of August saw the announcement of energy saving measures included under the Green Homes Grant, one of the biggest government-funded industry schemes in a decade. £2bn is being set aside to help homeowners fund the installation of energy-efficient measures; potentially opening the floodgates for a whole new wave of profitable work for heating and plumbing tradespeople. However, once it became clear exactly what measures were included under the scheme, expectations were dashed for many.

Although there are some measures included which are relevant to heating and plumbing, many of the more eye-catching offers for homeowners are not those aimed at our industry, such as vouchers for money off insulation or double glazing. 

The major disappointment for most was the complete absence of boiler replacements under the allowed scope of works. There are a lot of inefficient gas and oil boilers in people’s homes across the UK, and money off a replacement would certainly have turned a lot of heads among the British public. On p58 of this issue, Martyn Bridges of Worcester Bosch explains why the lack of boiler works under the Green Homes Grant is a missed opportunity.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are positives for the sector as a whole, as well as opportunities for those in the trade.

The inclusion of heat pumps is excellent news, for instance. Heat pumps have been making inroads into UK heating for well over a decade, and the Green Homes Grant, combined with the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, will hopefully continue to drive uptake, meaning there is more of a business case for installers to up-skill in this area. I actually attended an introductory heat pump training course last month, hosted by Grant UK, and an installer I spoke to who attended did so because he could see a strong future for renewables and wanted to make sure he was equipped with the knowledge to capitalise on that growth. To learn more about the training, head to p28.

It’s also worth noting solar thermal is covered under the Green Homes Grant, plus heating controls are included as a secondary measure, if a primary measure such as a heat pump is installed. More info can be found on p8.