The UK is waking up to a new generation of energy saving home improvement schemes, and with the support of innovative grants (funding that is designed to save energy, money and the planet), homeowners and tenants are being incentivised to take positive steps to improve their homes – actions that can deliver both immediate and long-term benefits.
“Reducing gas and electricity bills and protecting against heat loss and system inefficiencies really is on everyone’s mind right now,” explains Ben Parkes , Regional Director of Property Management at Stirling Ackroyd. “People around the world are feeling the burden of what seems like an endless rise in utility bills, and for the majority that manage finely-balanced household cash flow, runaway energy costs are having a serious fiscal and psychological impact.”
“Another side of the challenge is that the energy profile of our properties is becoming a major determinant of choice for home buyers and future tenants. That means making smart energy improvements while the funding is available is a good idea all round. Everybody needs to be thinking about this. Home’s energy efficiency demands must be taken seriously,” Ben continues. “What may have seemed a nice-to-have before, is a need-to-have now.”
“By upgrading our boilers and installing multi-zone insulation strategies, our bills will visibly reduce, and that is important. However, we are also seeing more and more people demand superior energy efficiencies as a direct result of the climate emergency. The world really is beginning to look at energy in a different way, as a finite resource that needs to be controlled and optimised. It’s time for change, and the good news is that the UK government is offering financial help to make the personal and environmental changes needed for a better energy future.”
With so many people struggling financially, it is important to take advantage of all the financial aid available. The UK government provides different levels and types of support for those who want and need to make energy improvements.
|UK's Energy Company Obligation (ECO)||Boiler Upgrade Scheme||Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme|
|A government scheme designed to help cut carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty, the ECO offers money for insulation, glazing and even new boilers. Targeting low-income households in the first instance, this legislation is designed to support a reduction in energy bills. Grants of up to £5,000 are available.||Designed for people living in properties made after 1996, Must meet a defined customer energy consumption benchmark. Grants averaging £10k are available from certain local authorities under their Green Homes Grant Delivery Scheme.||A number of local authorities offer incentives locally. The scheme offers grants averaging £10k to homeowners, a contribution that can be used against the cost of insulation and energy support, such as solar panels and heat pumps. Households with an income (or less) of £30k a year can apply and Energy Performance Certificate ratings of D, to G qualify. Tenants can also benefit from these home improvements. Typically, grants are in the range of £5000 (the landlord must contribute ½ of the total cost against this).|
|Insulation||Boiler upgrades||Installing Solar Panels|
|The Energy Saving Trust reports that if you live in an attached home, installing new floor-to ceiling insulating material could save nearly £600 annually on heating costs. Installing loft insulation may cost you around £400. Investigate assistance as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.||With the potential to reduce bills by 30%, it is worth considering installing an efficient boiler. £5,000 grants are available. An alternative is a ground source heat pump - grants of up to £6,000 against the cost of the installation are available.|
Requirements: Your property must be in England or Wales. You'll also need to have a valid energy performance certificate and there can't be any outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. New build properties are not normally eligible, and existing systems need to be powered by oil, gas or electricity. Grants for biomass boilers are only available to those that own or let homes in rural areas that are not on the gas network.
|Solar panels can save you up to £800 per annum on your energy bills, but the cost of installation remains prohibitive at an estimated £6,000. |
Recouping the cost is a longer-term strategy, but it is worth knowing that solar panels can be purchased VAT free until 2027. It is estimated that most eligible homes (right aspect / light / installation position) can take eight years to break even on the cost of installation, but the current economics do not make this a smart idea for standard homeowners, from a cost savings perspective.
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