Property - Do-it-yourself

The Government’s new Green Deal scheme provides a loan for you to invest in improvements that make your home more energy efficient, such as double glazing, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

You can also use a Green Deal loan to invest in electricity and heat-generating technologies for the home, such as solar panels, biomass boilers, and ground and air source heat pumps.

The loan is paid off through your electricity bill over a number of years and as the improvements are designed to cut your home’s energy bills, the loan becomes the responsibility of the new owner if you sell up and move on.

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Extra help is available for people who live in period properties, have a low income or are on benefits. There’s a Green Homes Cashback Scheme in Scotland (visit

If you’re considering installing electricity-generating equipment, such as solar electric panels or a wind turbine, the Government’s Feed-In Tariffs scheme won’t help with the cost of the installation, but it will (providing the equipment qualifies) pay you once it’s up and running.

Introduced almost three years ago, Feed-In Tariffs pays out for both the electricity you generate and use at home and any surplus electricity you export back to the National Grid. Add to this the savings you’ll make on your electricity bills by generating your own electricity, and it can be an attractive option.

If you’re interested in using a renewable heat technology at home, another Government scheme – the Renewable Heat Incentive – fits the bill, but it’s not due to start for homeowners until later this year.

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Providing they meet the scheme’s criteria, ground and air source heat pumps, solar thermal (hot water) panels, pellet stoves with back boilers, and biomass boilers should qualify for payments, with a different tariff applying to each.

Until the Renewable Heat Incentive is introduced for homeowners, the Renewable Heat Premium Payment provides grants to help with the cost of installing renewable heat technologies at home.

The grants range from £300 towards the cost of solar thermal panels to £1,250 for water or ground source heat pumps. However, the scheme is due to finish at the end of March this year, so time is fast running out.

Also finishing at the end of March is the Home Renewables Loan scheme, an initiative in Scotland to provide interest-free loans to help with the cost of buying and installing heat and electricity-generating domestic systems. Loans are on a first come, first served basis, with up to £10,000 available for renewable heat technologies and up to £2,000 for electricity-generating equipment.

Detailed information on all these schemes is available at, where there are links to other relevant websites.