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Government Grants For Home Improvements

Home improvements

Are you looking for ways to make home improvements while spending as little money as possible? In the UK, there are grants available from the government and local authorities where you can make home improvements without breaking the bank – so long as you’re eligible for support.

 

As the UK, and the world as a whole, continues to fight climate change by limiting its carbon footprint there are a host of grants available that can make your home more energy efficient. By improving your home’s energy efficiency levels you will:

  • See a reduction in your energy bills.
  • Reduce your household’s carbon footprint.
  • Have a home that will retain heat better in the winter while staying cooler during the summer months.
  • See a reduction in the amount of condensation in your home, which can limit the production of damp and black mould.

 

This article will walk you through the four key government grant schemes that will help you make energy efficiency home improvements, including the: ECO4, Great British Insulation Scheme, LA Flex Scheme, and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

 

What Is The ECO4 Scheme?

ECO4 is the fourth part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. The government-backed initiative aims to reduce domestic household emissions as well as make households warmer for the residents of the United Kingdom. Additionally, households that take advantage of the energy efficiency scheme will also see a reduction in their energy bills.

What Home Improvements Does The ECO4 Scheme Cover?

As part of the ECO4 scheme, low-income and vulnerable households will be able to receive energy efficiency measures that are completely free and funded by the ECO4 scheme. Eligible energy efficiency measures you could receive through the scheme include:

 

Am I Eligible For the ECO4 Scheme?

The ECO4 scheme primarily focuses on improving the homes of low-income families and the most vulnerable members of our communities. The eligibility criteria for the scheme reflects this goal. In order to receive energy efficiency methods through the ECO4 scheme you:

Must:

  • Live in a property that has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that is rated D or lower.

 

Either:

  • Have a combined household income of £31,000 or lower.
  • Or at least one member of your household must receive one of the following benefits: Child Benefits, Child Tax Credit (CTC), Housing Benefit (newly eligible under ECO4), Income-based, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, Pension Credit Savings Credit (newly eligible under ECO4), Universal Credit (UC), Warm Home Discount Scheme Rebate, Working Tax Credit (WTC).

 

What Is The Great British Insulation Scheme?

Formerly known as the ECO+ scheme, the Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) aims to install household improvements in the least energy efficient properties in the United Kingdom. The scheme, administered by Ofgem, hopes to help tackle fuel poverty and reduce household energy bills.

While GBIS appears to be the same as the ECO4 scheme, the main difference between the two lies in the amount of energy efficiency methods you may receive. The ECO4 scheme aims to improve your entire property’s energy efficiency level, whereas the GBIS initiative focuses on delivering one method of insulation.

 

What Home Improvements Does The Great British Insulation Scheme Cover?

As part of the GBIS initiative, there are a variety of insulation methods that can be installed in your home. These insulation measures include:

  • Cavity wall 
  • Solid wall
  • Loft
  • Solid floor
  • Under floor
  • Park home
  • Room-in-roof
  • Pitched roof
  • Flat room

 

Additionally, if you meet the low-income eligibility criteria (discussed below) you may also be able to claim heating controls (e.g., room thermostats) as a secondary measure.

Am I Eligible For the Great British Insulation Scheme?

The GBIS initiative builds upon the ECO4 scheme, serving a larger portion of the population within the UK. This is reflected in the eligibility criteria, which is split into two different groups. These are:

Low-income Eligibility Group:

In order to claim your free energy efficiency method using the GBIS initiative as part of the low-income eligibility group, at least one member of your household must receive one of the following types of benefits:

  • Child Benefit
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit Saving Credit

General Eligibility Group:

Alternatively, if you do not fulfil the low-income eligibility criteria, then you have a second eligibility option. To receive an energy efficiency method using the general group criteria you:

Must:

  • Live in a property with an EPC rating of D or below.

 

Either:

  • Fall into Council Tax bands A to D in England.
  • Fall into Council Tax bands A to E in Wales and Scotland.

 

What Is The LA Flex Scheme?

The Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex) scheme is an extension of the UK government’s ECO scheme. While the eligibility criteria for the ECO4 and GBIS initiatives are both pre-set by the government, the LA Flex criteria is set out by local authorities. The scheme has allowed local authorities to extend the qualifying criteria for free energy efficiency measures to ensure that more residents are eligible.

If you reside in a home that has poor energy efficiency levels, but you do not qualify for either of the schemes we have already mentioned, then the LA Flex initiative may be perfect for you.

 

What Home Improvements Does The LA Flex Scheme Cover?

As the LA Flex scheme builds upon the already established ECO initiative, both schemes tend to offer the same types of energy efficiency methods. However, as your local authority is setting the rules, this may differ. Typically, the following home improvements offered through the LA Flex scheme include:

  • New central heating systems.
  • Insulation methods, including cavity or solid wall insulation.
  • Free boiler replacements.
  • And upgrades to your current central heating system.

 

Am I Eligible For the LA Flex Scheme?

Unlike the previously mentioned government grants, there is no pre-set criteria for the LA Flex scheme. This is because each local authority is free to set their own eligibility criteria, depending on the requirements of the residents in their local areas. To find out whether you are eligible to receive free energy efficiency methods under this scheme, you will need to get in contact with your local authority to find out whether you are eligible.

 

What Is The Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

If you do not require further home insulation, then why not check out the free boiler upgrade scheme? While the ECO4 and LA Flex schemes both already offer free boiler upgrades, there is also the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which specifically focuses on providing UK residents with new boilers. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (also known as BUS) aims to promote the decarbonisation of heat in households and buildings. 

What Home Improvements Does The Boiler Upgrade Scheme Cover?

Through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, energy companies can offer free heat pumps and biomass boilers to be fitted into households and non-domestic buildings across England and Wales. The three main types of boiler upgrades the BUS initiative provides are:

 

As of October 2023, installers will be able to apply for the following grant amounts depending on the type of technology they are installing:

  • Air source heat pumps are eligible for a £7,500 grant.
  • Ground source heat pumps are eligible for a £7,500 grant.
  • Biomass boilers are eligible for a £5,000 grant.

Am I Eligible For the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

If you are looking to apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, then you need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • You must own the property you are applying for. The property can be your first or second home, your business location, or a property you rent out to tenants.
  • Your new heating system must be installed on or after the 1st April 2022. You are still eligible if you plan to install a system, but have yet to do so.
  • You are replacing a fossil fuel heating system (e.g., oil, gas, or electric).
  • Your property cannot have any outstanding recommendations regarding cavity wall or loft insulation.
  • Most new-build and social properties are not eligible.

 

For those that are specifically looking to install a biomass boiler, your property must:

  • Be off the gas grid.
  • Be located in a rural location.
  • Your boiler’s emissions certificate must display that the polluting emissions are kept to the minimum.

 

It is important to note that biomass boilers cannot be installed in self-built homes.

Government Grants For Home Improvements Conclusion

As the cost of living and energy crisis’ continue to rage on, people are looking for ways to save money, even while they are making home improvements. You will be able to make energy efficiency improvements using the variety of schemes currently available. Depending on the type of improvements you want to make, the table below summarises which measures are available as part of each grant and with a ‘perfect for’ section aimed to help you find your ideal grant scheme.

 

Which government grant is perfect for you?
Grant What measures are available Perfect for
ECO4
  • Insulation, including loft and cavity wall insulation.
  • Air source heat pumps.
  • Smart thermal controls.
  • Solar panels.
  • Boiler replacements.
The ECO4 grant is the most inclusive scheme for low-income and vulnerable households.
Great British Insulation Scheme Insulation including:

  • Cavity wall
  • Solid wall
  • Loft
  • Solid floor
  • Under floor
  • Park home
  • Room-in-roof
  • Pitched roof
  • Flat room
For those that are looking to insulate their homes. The GBIS initiative is more inclusive than the ECO4 grant, but you will receive only one energy efficiency method, and the variety of measures is more limited.
LA Flex Scheme
  • New central heating systems.
  • Insulation methods, including cavity or solid wall insulation.
  • Free boiler replacements.
  • Upgrades to your current central heating system.
If you don’t quite fit into the eligibility bracket for the ECO4 grant, then the LA Flex may accommodate you.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme
  • Air source heat pumps.
  • Ground source heat pumps.
  • Biomass boilers.
Perhaps the most inclusive grant on our list, a large percentage of the population will be eligible for this grant. However, it only covers England and Wales, and will only help you receive a new boiler.

 

Unsure which grant is right for you? Work with Eco Grants by ZOA Energy Solutions today. We can help you with the grant application process and then carry out any home improvements you qualify for, too!

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