The energy crisis and resultant hikes in the prices of essential services such as gas and electricity have increasingly led to more and more households looking towards available government grants to assist with the cost of installing home improvement measures that could help them reduce their energy bills. Additionally, local authorities, energy companies, charities and other agencies potentially offer simple energy advice and other avenues that complement some of the grants and schemes that help low-income families.
Below are some key examples of grants for home improvements, such as insulation, that will help households improve their home’s energy efficiency and reduce their energy bills:
- Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme
- Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
- The Green Deal Scheme
- The Winter Fuel Payment
- Cold Weather Payment
- The Warm Home Discount
Government Grants UK – What help is available for home improvement?
The government grants for homeowners you could qualify for include, but are not limited to:
- Cavity wall insulation
- Internal wall insulation
- External wall insulation
- Loft insulation
- Underfloor insulation
- Solar panels
- Air source and ground source heat pumps
Home repair/improvement grants for landlords
Government grants for home improvements that are available are applicable to both homeowners and privately renting tenants, as long as they have the landlord’s permission.
By extension, landlords can also independently decide to apply these changes to the household under the grant as long as the occupant meets the necessary criteria. They don’t even need a qualifying benefit in many cases, as plenty have still qualified for an energy-efficient home improvement grant if they are in a low-income household (have a combined annual income of £31,000 or less).
Let’s take a closer look at the main government grants for home improvements you could access that could help you benefit from measures such as loft insulation or cavity wall insulation.
ECO4 – One of the biggest Government Grants UK
The Energy Company Obligation is the government’s flagship when it comes to energy efficiency schemes to fund home improvement measures that will help households reduce their household bills. It was launched in 2013, and funded by the main energy suppliers, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions across the UK to reduce our impact on climate change and ensure we reach the legally binding target of hitting net-zero target emissions by the year 2050. To date, around 3.5 million energy efficiency measures have been installed in over 2.4 million homes under the Energy Company Obligation Scheme.
ECO is now in its fourth and final rendition and will run until 2026. The main focus of ECO4 is on low-income households with homes that are fuel-poor and energy inefficient to ensure they get the measures they need to better retain heat in their properties and lower their energy bills yearly.
The ECO Scheme has been complemented by ECO+ which is intended to run from Spring 2023 for up to 3 years, and will extend support even further to households who could receive new insulation measures for their home but who were not previously eligible for support under existing government-backed schemes.
Looking for Home Improvement Grants UK 2023? Then ECO4 or ECO+ is for you!
You may qualify for government grants for homeowners through ECO4 if you are currently in receipt of specific eligible benefits, you are a homeowner or a privately renting tenant, and your home is not energy efficient with a low EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating. There have been some notable changes to the eligibility requirements in ECO4 compared to ECO3 so be sure to check the list of qualifying benefits below before starting an application.
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Warm Home Discount Scheme Rebate
- Child Benefits
- Income Support (IS)
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Working Tax Credit (WTC)
- Child Tax Credits (CTC)
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Housing Benefit (new eligible benefit through ECO4)
- Pension Credit Savings Credit (new eligible benefit through ECO4)
What difference will ECO+ make to eligibility criteria?
The £1 billion ECO+ Scheme extends support to energy efficient homes in lower Council Tax bands, in an effort to help some of the most vulnerable bring down their energy bills.
Some of the main details of the ECO+ scheme are as follows:
- Households could receive up to £15,000 in home improvement grants
- Households that do not currently benefit from government support to upgrade their home could benefit
- 80% of the funding is available to those who are in some of the least energy-efficient homes in the country
- This includes homes with an EPC rating of D or below or those in the lower Council Tax bands.
- Around 20% of the fund targeted at the most vulnerable, including those on means-tested benefits or in fuel poverty
The Green Deal Scheme
This scheme is no longer active but previously provided funding for households to make modern home improvements that would help them save on bills through energy efficiency measures. Some of the energy-efficient measures included:
- Renewable energy sources (solar panels or heat pumps)
- Energy-saving heating
- Double glazing
- Several different types of insulation (as mentioned above)
What about grants for home improvements in the heating sector?
Grants or financial assistance typically exist only for those in the lower-income brackets, and they focus on either paying the homeowner to offset high heating bills or making installation possible of measures, such as insulation, designed to raise the energy efficiency of the home. Less heat escaping the house means fewer carbon emissions and lower costs.
Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Typically known as the RHI, these home repair grants were introduced to support and encourage the use of renewable heating systems. Eligible households would receive quarterly payments for seven years for using these systems exclusively, provided they stuck to the terms of the scheme.
The Winter Fuel Payment
As you can probably determine from the name, the winter fuel payment is financial aid that will offset the high costs of heating during the winter season. Winter fuel payments are often between the ranges of £100 and £300. Drops in temperature are bad for your body and can make you more vulnerable to illnesses that not only affect your health but your day-to-day productivity. If you find yourself spending more time in the cold rather than being warm and content, then this may be a grant for you. However, it can only be applied to those who were born on or before 26th September 1955.
The Warm Home Discount
This scheme is actually a one-off payment of £140, unlike the other discounts that deal on a timeframe. The exact terms of this may vary depending on who your energy supplier is so be sure to check how it can apply to you. Normally, the qualifying factors for this discount are:
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Your energy supplier is part of the warm home discount scheme
- Your name is on the energy bill (or the name of your partner)
- You are a low-income household and need help with your bills
- You are claiming specific means-tested benefits
The Cold Weather Payment
This government scheme is a heating financial help payment and can be applied in situations when the average temperature in the UK goes below zero for seven days in a row. You could be eligible for this payment if you claim certain benefits already including:
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (specifically including child care for a child with a disability)
Other factors that could mean you are eligible for the payment are:
- If you are looking after a child with a disability and they require more than just child care.
- If you have a child that is under the age of five living with you, and you take part in the care of that child financially.
- You are not fully capable of working full-time.
Disabled Facilities Grants from the local authority
You could get a grant from your local council if you are disabled and need to make essential changes to your home. A disabled facilities grant won’t affect any benefits you get and could help with measures such as widening doors, adding handrails, improving access, building extensions, or even providing a heating system suitable for your needs.
Disabilities include a range of conditions including physical disability, learning disability, age-related need, autism, cognitive impairment, progressive conditions, terminal illness, or mental health condition. You should apply to your local authority for a disabled facilities grant.
Check your eligibility for a home improvement grant
Contact us today to check your eligibility for government grants for homeowners. We can put you in touch with energy experts that will handle the entire process from securing the funding to installing your new insulation, so you can get the assistance you need without a stressful and time-consuming application process.
(Article updated 20th December 2022)