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Do self builders need a green deal assessment to claim RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 October 2013 at 9:55 am

Q: We have had a single new house built for us this year and have an air source heat pump. Naturally we would like to apply for the renewable heat incentive when it comes in next year. You said in your blog of 25 July 2013 that you need a green deal assessment to apply unless you are a self-builder. We have an energy performance certificate and masses of insulation so does that mean we do not have to have any further assessment as I believe we fall into the category of 'self-builder'? Our MCS-certified installer believes that is the case but does say it seems ambiguous.

A: If you have commissioned a builder to build a single house for your own use, you should come under the definition of self-builder for the purposes of the renewable heat incentive (RHI). Because your house is new, and meets current building regulations, it wouldn't make sense to have a green deal assessment. 

All you need to claim the RHI is the energy performance certificate (EPC). On this you'll find figures for heat demand for water and space heating. These are the figures you will use to calculate your RHI payments. 

As you have an air source heat pump your calculations will be a bit more difficult than those for biomass boilers or solar thermal. Some of the details are still being sorted out, but the following blogs will give you an idea of the thinking behind it.

What the domestic RHI means for heat pumps

How is the seasonal performance factor of my heat pump calculated?

YouGen guide to heat pumps

Photo Credit: Tintin44 - Sylvain Masson via Compfight cc


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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4 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 26 March 2014 at 9:57 am

Thanks for your feedback Tom. I'm sure others will find it useful.

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tomfromfifeComment left on: 25 March 2014 at 8:51 pm

After talking with the green Deal Assessor, it turns out that you need the tax certificate if you are a self builder, which I do not have as it was a ground up renovation. I had the green deal assessment carried out, an EPC and recommendations. Of the recommendations I replaced my light bulbs with LED bulbs, paid for by the cash back voucher to the tune of £300, so free.. Also £150 cash back for the assessment so only had to pay £50 in all. Then I had the second EPC taking the LEDs into account. The cash back takes a long time. I have been waiting for 25days now.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 28 October 2013 at 9:15 am


I don't know the answer to this one. It sounds like self-build to me, but Ofgem is still working on the definitions, and there are going to be some circumstances where they will probably make a case by case judgement. 

Did it count as an extension or a new build for tax purposes? This might be one way of looking at it...

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tomfromfifeComment left on: 27 October 2013 at 1:19 pm

My property was a complete rebuild except for one stone wall as it is listed. It was a complete ground up rebuild by a builder and structural engineer including walls(except 1 wall) , timber frame, floors, roof, GSHP, UFH, the whole shebang. I have photographic evidence etc. Would I qualify as a self builder in these circumstances? It's really a new timber framed house utilizing one of the external stone walls.

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