Industry expert calls for greener Green Homes Grant

A living roof specialist is calling on the government to ‘green up’ the Green Homes Grant by extending it to include environment-friendly roof garden projects.

The grant scheme, which opens for business today, is aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock and boosting the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants will be available for better home insulation, boilers, heat pumps, solar panel installations etc.

However, Julian Thurbin, a director at Croydon-based green roof specialist Wallbarn, believes Chancellor Rishi Sunak has missed an opportunity in not including green roofs:

“We believe the Chancellor could have scored a hat-trick if he’d included green roofs in the scheme. He would have helped improve many thousands of homes, delivered a much-needed shot in the arm to the economy and boosted Britain’s effort to be net zero carbon by 2050.”

Julian added,

“Green roofs offer brilliant insulation benefits and keep homes cooler in summer. They also regulate the microclimate around them, contribute towards cleaner air quality, control run-off from heavy rainfall and cool cities. They would be a perfect partner for the other measures already covered by the grant scheme – with the added bonus of increasing biodiversity, providing a haven for pollinators and being great to look at.”

Homes with flat roofs over living areas are ideal candidates for a green roof, which are cheaper and easier to retrofit than, for example, ground source heat pumps and solar panel systems. Julian said,

“We’d love to see the Chancellor take a second look and consider incentivising green roof installations. They are a beautiful and natural approach to roofing and insulating properties and fit perfectly with the government’s environmental agenda.”

He added,

“The Mayor of London has recognised the importance of greening urban environments with the launch of his Grow Back Greener Fund, which aims to support the recovery from Covid-19 through sustainable growth and ‘green-collar’ jobs. We think it’s a scheme that could be rolled out across the country, with support in part from Green Homes Grant funding.”