Are you fed up with being overlooked when it comes to funding home energy efficiency measures through grants? The good news is that the ECO+ Scheme may now open up a funding avenue to many more households to have energy efficiency installers visit and insulate their homes, reduce their energy consumption, and save significantly on their heating bills too.
What is the ECO+ Scheme?
ECO+ (Energy Company Obligation) is a scheme to provide funding to help many more households become more energy efficient through grant-funded insulation measures and energy efficiency improvements, it is also known as the Great British Insulation Scheme. The funding is intended to help bring down people’s energy bills at a time when energy prices are rising higher than ever seen before.
ECO mandates that energy suppliers provide support to those in low-income households, but also extends it to energy-inefficient households in lower Council Tax bands, in an attempt to help some of the most vulnerable households bring down their energy costs – at a time when bills are at unprecedented levels.
The £1 billion scheme builds on the existing £6.6 billion ‘Help to Heat’ energy schemes, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Home Upgrade Grant and Local Authority Delivery Scheme.
Energy Company Obligation Plus main details
- £1 billion funded scheme (rebranded as the Great British Insulation Scheme)
- Started in September 2023 and runs to March 2026
- Up to 70,000 homes expected to benefit over the 3-year period
- Will involve grants funded by the larger energy companies
- Grants of up to £1,500 are available
- Will benefit households not currently benefit from government support
- 80% of the funding available for households who are in some of the least energy-efficient homes in the country
- This includes homes with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D or below or those in the lower Council Tax bands.
- Around 20% of the fund is targeted at the most vulnerable, including those on means-tested benefits or in fuel poverty.
Who will be able to benefit from Energy Company Obligation Plus?
The funding is targeted at low-income households, including those with low energy efficiency, considering an energy performance certificate rating of D or below.
It will also assist those in low council tax bands depending on their location on the following lines:
The scheme is intended to provide grants to those who haven’t previously had any government funding towards the cost of improving their home’s own energy efficiency rating.
Funding for insulation grants comes from the main energy suppliers, who are obliged to make a contribution towards helping households insulate households into becoming energy-efficient homes. All grants are free and do not have to be paid back.
Funding for insulation grants comes from the main energy suppliers, who are obliged to make a contribution towards helping households insulate their homes to become more energy efficient. All grants are free and do not have to be paid back.
Is ECO+ instead of the current ECO Scheme (ECO4)?
ECO plus is complimentary to its numbered renditions and will help a wider group of eligible households to insulate their home than previously under the ECO4 scheme.
Already under 3.5m energy-efficiency measures have been installed in over 2.4 million homes since the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) was launched in 2013. The existing ECO4 scheme is targeted at those who need support most; those in social housing, in low-income households or fuel-poor.
What types of insulation will be funded by ECO+?
Energy company obligation plus is intended to help as many households as possible by giving out grants for home improvements.
So the main focus will be on installing lower-cost insulation measures such as loft wall insulation, and cavity wall insulation.
That said, there will still be opportunities for other types of home insulation where relevant under the ECO4 scheme and ECO+.
Potential insulation grants that could be covered by an ECO+ include:
- Loft insulation
- Solid wall insulation (internal and external)
- Room-in-roof insulation
- Underfloor insulation
- Solid floor insulation
- Pitched roof insulation
- Flat roof insulation
- Park home insulation
- Secondary heating controls
How much could you save with ECO+?
Announcing the scheme, the government suggested that households could save around £300 to £400 annually on energy bills by installing insulation measures. However, savings will depend on a number of different factors including location, type of roof space, property, the insulation measure being installed and current energy prices.
Lofts, for example, lost up to 25% of energy from heating systems. Loft insulation can remedy quite a bit of this, mitigating the effects of fuel poverty.
The Energy Saving Trust provides some comprehensive figures relating to bills and CO2 savings. For comparison, we’ve looked at figures relating to a gas-heated semi-detached property (based on fuel prices as of October 2023).
|Insulation type||Typical installation cost||Energy bill savings (£/year)||Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)|
|Cavity Wall insulation||£1,000||£265||650kg|
|Solid wall insulation||Varies||£360||880kg|
While costs of insulation can vary widely, you could benefit not only by getting the cost of your insulation covered but also by enjoying long-term annual savings on fuel bills, as well as reducing your overall carbon emissions. With some types of insulation being effective for up to 40 years, this can mean decades of savings for households.
When applying to the scheme, you’ll be told the grant amount that you will receive. You may have to make a contribution towards some of the costs if you are having a more complex insulation installation, such as the many wall insulation grants, but with more straightforward grants, such as loft insulation grants, it is likely that it will cost you nothing at all. Loft insulation alone has had a proven positive effect on energy efficiency.
Can landlords benefit from ECO+?
ECO+ funding is available to landlords if their tenants meet the criteria. With the majority of homes in the private rental sector having energy performance certificate ratings of D or lower, it could be that many landlords and their tenants will be able to benefit – the landlord seeing their property being properly insulated and the tenants enjoying the cost savings on their energy bills. With an overall aim that homes meet energy performance certificate band C by 2035, this could see more and more rented properties better insulated over time.
How long will ECO+ run for?
The ECO+ scheme will run from Autumn 2023 for up to 3 years and extends that support even further to hundreds of thousands of households who could receive new insulation measures for their home but who are not currently eligible for support under existing government-backed schemes. Some of these ineligible parties may include those who are on low-income-related employment or personal independence payment benefits.
How to apply for the ECO+ scheme?
The main energy providers are funding the scheme. People are invited to enquire to find out if they are eligible. You can submit your enquiry via our application form and we’ll put you in contact with a top-rated certified installer for the scheme. Whereas having most income-related benefits will tick the qualifying benefits requirement for the Eco4 scheme, those that don’t may succeed with the Eco plus scheme.
What Energy Companies and Energy Suppliers are obligated to improve energy efficiency?
The energy companies and energy suppliers that are bound to abide by the eco+ and eco4 schemes are large energy companies who service at least 150,000 domestic customers. Some of these companies include British Gas, Scottish Power and Shell Energy. Whilst you may not associate these companies with loft insulation grants, fuel poverty and CO2 pollution have become a widespread enough problem that the UK has decided to place the obligation on those who contribute to them.
Are there any other aspects of the ECO Plus scheme?
Alongside the ECO plus scheme, the government is running an £18 million public information campaign to give the public advice on how they can cut down on their energy use and save on their bills. Some of the advice includes:
- reduce boiler flow temperature a boiler heats water from 75⁰C to 60⁰C
- turn down radiators in unused or empty rooms
- reduce heating loss through draught-proofing windows and doors
Don’t miss out on ECO+ funding
If you haven’t previously benefited from government funding for energy-efficiency home improvements, and you fall into the categories outlined above, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to benefit from ECO Plus funding. This will allow you to improve your home’s energy efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and minimise your energy bills. With the funding being free, it’s a no-brainer to see if you are able to get an insulation funding grant when the ECO+ scheme properly gets underway.