A government scheme lasting for three years will start in April 2023 to make homes more energy efficient. The scheme will enable middle-income households to apply for grants up to £15,000 to cover the cost of a range of energy saving work on their homes. This includes solar panels, air source heat pumps, storage heaters, gas central heating, internal wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, and room in the roof insulation.
The government has set aside £1bn for the ‘eco plus’ scheme. It will target people whose properties are in Council Tax bands A-D. The target is to fund work in 70,000 homes over the next 3 years. 75% of the cost of any energy efficiency upgrades can be claimed through a system of grants.
Although, critics might say it is only a drop in the ocean, the timing of the scheme – aimed to encourage more people to install energy upgrades – set against the backdrop increased energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis will be welcomed.
The pressing fact is that the government has already been forced to offer help to households facing surging energy bills. Longer term, the housing stock in the UK is both the oldest and the least energy-efficient in Europe. The ‘eco scheme’ represents a determination on the part of the government to begin to address the issue.
As an example of some of the costs and savings involved, cavity wall insulation costs between £600 and £1,800 but can save households between £250 and £690 a year. Similarly, loft insulation which typically costs up to £650 can save a household up to £590 a year.
The ‘eco scheme’ is part of a much wider government ambition to reduce energy consumption from UK buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. This would represent a £28bn saving from the nation’s energy bill. This would equate to £450 off the average household energy bill.
Funding for the new scheme will be administered by energy suppliers. A £25m social media and advertising campaign was launched before Christmas aimed at showing household how they can reduce their energy usage during the winter months.
This included signposting to various government-backed schemes and grants, as well as offering a range of practical money-saving energy tips. This included advice such as turning down the flow temperature on boilers, turning down radiators in rooms that aren’t in use, and taking showers instead of baths.
The government has previously been accused of ‘nannying’. However, at a time when households are feeling the pinch due to the cost-of-living crisis, the guidance has been broadly welcomed for providing authoritative advice.
The money-saving tips will help households to reduce the cost of their energy bills simply by introducing a few simple changes into the home. None of these require any financial outlay. They bring short-term savings and if these changes become habits, household will continue to save.
The ‘eco scheme’ grants will enable homeowners to make energy improvements that will have a long-term impact.