Grants and LoansThe more energy efficient your home is the better – both for the environment and your property’s value. But achieving a truly carbon neutral home can mean making a financial investment in your home through a more ambitious green project. Energy micro-generation solar panels, hydro-electric systems or wind turbines can be expensive to install initially. However there are grants and loans available from your council and government that could help make your green project more affordable. Doing your research into which grants and loans are available for you to take advantage of and how to make an application can really pay off in the long run.

Why Going Green Can Make You Money

Making your home energy efficient isn’t just better for the environment; it might also boost your property’s resale value. A key element of Home Information Packs– currently compulsory in England and Wales for people selling homes of three bedrooms or more, but soon to be extended – is an Energy Performance Certificate. This rates a property on its energy efficiency. The more enterprising your green project, the better rating your property will achieve. This should boost your property’s value – and the returns will be even greater if you manage to secure government funding for the work.

Choosing Your Project

Which project you choose to take on will to a large extent dictate whether there’s a grant or loan available to you. Generally speaking, you’re more likely to be eligible for an energy grant or loan if your project generates energy for your home or for the National Grid, which is where micro-generation projects come in. There are several micro generation systems to decide between, depending on the space available on your home, you’re geographical surroundings and your location. Choose from:

  • <#66#>Solar panels<#>
  • Wind turbines
  • Hydro-technology
  • Solar water heating
  • Heat pumps
  • Bioenergy

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme

As part of the government’s commitment to making all new homes carbon neutral by 2016, money is also being set aside to achieve better energy efficiency in existing homes through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. An extra £6 million has been put aside to be paid out in grants to people wanting to install a micro energy generation system in their home. Under the programme, 20-50% of the cost of the entire project is covered by the scheme.

Loans Available

Loans for energy saving projects are available as well, usually from your local council. Often these are interest free for a certain time period, allowing you to complete your work and make the project a success before you have to pay it back. Different councils offer different loans at different rates, so you should contact them directly for more information. Loans are usually administered on a first come, fist served basis each month, so you may need to put your name down on a waiting list before funds can be made available for you.

Planning Permission

Before applying for a grant or loan for the work you’re planning, you need to have in place the appropriate planning permission from your local council. Most micro-generation systems will require this before any work can go ahead. The council will look at your plans, inform local residents of the work and give them the opportunity to lodge any opposition. It’s likely that your project will be given the go ahead however, given the positive emphasis that’s being placed on green enterprise. From there, you’ll be able to apply for a grant or loan – ask your council at the planning permission stage if they can recommend your project on a scheme.