Green Finance Institute launches new resource to supercharge green home retrofit solutions

by | Feb 28, 2023

 The “Broker’s Handbook” is a first-of-its-kind resource – developed with leading market participants – that will support mortgage intermediaries and home buyers in adopting home retrofit solutions

London, 28 February 2023: The Green Finance Institute (GFI) has today launched the “Broker’s Handbook”, a guide to educate and inform mortgage intermediaries about different green home retrofit solutions and technologies to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK’s homes.

The Handbook provides a practical guide for brokers to understand opportunities in the mortgage sector through improving home energy efficiency, and has been developed with partners including the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), Building Societies Association (BSA), Energy Savings Trust, Equity Release Council, the Green Finance Institute, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), L&G Mortgage Club, the Mortgage Climate Action Group (MCAG) and UK Finance.

The green mortgage sector has grown rapidly in the past four years, increasing from 3 to over 50 products, however many brokers are new to the opportunities that green mortgages provide. This Handbook, the first of its kind for mortgage brokers, is a reference point that includes all the core information that brokers need to know to support customers on their net-zero journey.

Mortgage intermediaries have wide-ranging, long-standing and trusted relationships with homebuyers, therefore have an important role to play in the decarbonisation of UK homes. This resource will help them identify the opportunities and risks, quality assurance standards, and benefits across the housing value chain, as well as the policy landscape for home energy efficiency.

With UK buildings being responsible for 23% of total greenhouse gas emissions, the opportunity for successful decarbonisation is dependent on the built environment sector having confidence in green solutions and the relevant financial arrangements in place to fund these.

The recently announced Chris Skidmore Net Zero Review included targets for all homes sold in the UK to be a minimum of EPC C by 2033 which, if implemented, would introduce a new timeline for improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s inefficient housing stock. Finance is essential in making this change and the Climate Change Committee, the government’s independent advisory body on climate change, estimates a total investment need of £360bn by 2050.

Emma Harvey-Smith, Built Environment Director, GFI said: “Rising prices are causing widespread concerns for both domestic and commercial energy consumers. Mortgage Brokers are a key part of the puzzle when it comes to facilitating better insulated homes that cost less to heat, and support a net zero future. We’re delighted to be launching this handbook, developed with experts across the market, to provide the clarity needed for Brokers to now be armed with enough information to fully support customers and clients on this journey.”

There is consumer interest for more financial products being offered on green solutions, driven in part by soaring energy bills across the UK. The Rightmove Green Homes Report found that improving a home from an F to a C EPC rating could add an additional 16% to its value. Meanwhile, the same report found that 89% of homeowners are looking to make green improvements in order to save money on energy bills. Now is the time to act, and the fledgling green mortgage market will go some way to benefit consumers seeking finance.

The handbook is officially accredited as structured CPD by The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF).

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive, AMI: “A big thank you to a number of key stakeholders and the Green Finance Institute in particular for working with us to deliver this crucial learning tool. At AMI with our website we are focused on bringing together a single source of truth on what is and will remain a complex area. Intermediaries will need to evidence their professionalism by helping guide consumers through the maze of how to reduce their carbon footprint. For most, the biggest single contribution they can make is to improve how their home works. Using this guide and other tools will put the mortgage intermediary at the heart of the advice journey.”

Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy, Building Societies Association (BSA): “Decarbonising UK housing to meet Net Zero presents an enormous challenge that will require action from every part of the housing market. Building societies and Credit Unions have a key role to play and many are already providing finance to support the small number of consumers retrofitting their homes now. For the Government’s legal commitment to be met the number of retrofits will need to rise dramatically. Mortgage brokers are a key part of the solution to this retrofit challenge, given their dominance in providing advice to the majority of consumers taking out mortgages today. We strongly welcome the GFI’s Handbook as a vital tool which will provide critical information to help borrowers to navigate the ever-growing energy improvement and green financing options available to them.”

Kelly Melville-Kelly, Head of Risk, Policy and Compliance, Equity Release Council: ““We have valued the opportunity to work with the Green Finance Institute on this handbook along with many of our fellow trade associations. This comes at such an important time as everyone, especially homeowners look to understand net zero and the plans to reduce this significantly in the coming years. The handbook works together with the lenders handbook to educate and inform mortgage intermediaries involved in all aspect of lending including equity release”.

Brian Horne, Technical Knowledge Lead, Energy Savings Trust (EST): “With 30 years’ experience in the energy sector, we know the positive impact that tailored and consistent advice on home energy efficiency has on empowering people who are looking to make changes. Sharing this expertise with other organisations to help them provide this support to their customers is a key part of our mission to address the climate emergency.
The Brokers’ Handbook is the welcome result of industry-wide collaboration, led by the Green Finance Institute and will enable access to relevant information on potential energy savings available through financed home improvements, as well as some of the practical considerations to bear in mind.”

Kate Davies, Executive Director, IMLA: “Mortgage brokers are currently faced with a bewildering array of rules, regulations and proposals regarding the energy efficiency of residential property.  We congratulate the GFI for producing this most welcome Handbook – which provides brokers with an invaluable source of authoritative reference information.  It will help them navigate their way through the jungle – and enable them to advise their clients with confidence and clarity.”

Matthew Fleming-Duffy, Later Life Finance Advisor at Knight Frank: “With homeowners facing rising energy bills and lenders progressively developing green home finance solutions, this handbook offers mortgage brokers a detailed but concise overview of the various technologies, energy-efficiency measures and industry standards being used in the green marketplace. Providing a one-stop shop for relevant information, brokers now have access to an excellent resource that will, amongst other things, enhance the consumer journey through the assessment of what measures they should be installing in their homes, and how to fund them.”