Grants and schemes to help with energy
If you need help with energy efficiency improvements in
your privately-owned or rented home, there are a number of schemes
that may be able to help - from the Government, energy suppliers,
local councils and other sources.
Applies to: What is available depends on
what country you live in.
Some schemes are only available to people on low incomes or
Administered by: Depends on the scheme
You can read through this information sheet,
or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on
Support is available
through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO)
and the Green Deal.
In Wales, support is available through the Nest Programme, Green
Deal and Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).
In Scotland, help is available through the Home Energy
Scotland programmes, Green Deal and Energy Companies
In Northern Ireland, the Warm Homes Scheme offers grants to help
improve energy efficiency.
If you are a home owner, your income is less than £40,000 and
your boiler is over 15 years old, you can apply for the
Boiler Replacement Scheme (link opens in a new window) through
the Housing Executive.
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For some schemes, you need to be getting certain means-tested or
income-related benefits to qualify for a grant. For example, you
may qualify if you are getting one or more of the following
benefits and depending on where you live:
You may also get help if you're getting Tax Credits and your income is below
a certain level.
You'll need to contact the scheme provider in the country where
you live to find out how much help you can get. This is
because some benefits may not entitle you to receive the full
package of energy efficiency improvements.
The organisations listed in the Getting energy advice section
would also be able to advise you further about the schemes you
might be eligible for.
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What help do the schemes provide?
A technical survey of the work is needed for the existing
heating system in your property to find out if you qualify for a
grant. If your home needs to be made warmer, the grant could
cover things like insulation or a replacement boiler. The work
is carried out by recommended installers. You don't arrange for it
to be done.
All the schemes offer free energy saving advice to everyone,
even if you don't qualify for a grant to make your home warmer. You
may also be able to get a free benefits check to make sure you're
not missing out on other money.
The technical survey identifies the value
of the work that needs to be done.
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How to claim
You can get more information about how to apply for money for
home energy efficiency schemes as follows:
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Energy Companies Obligation (England, Scotland and Wales)
The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) has been
introduced alongside the Green Deal. It aims to save carbon
and get efficient boilers and insulation into the homes of
vulnerable people across Great Britain.
ECO is split into three elements:
- Affordable Warmth - which may provide free
energy saving measures to low-income and vulnerable households
(Please note: You can't get this help if you are a social housing
- Carbon Saving Obligation - to provide funding
to insulate solid-walled properties (internal and external wall
insulation) and those with 'hard to treat' cavity walls.
- Carbon Saving Communities - to provide free
insulation and glazing measures to people living in the bottom 15%
of the UK's most deprived areas. It is expected that this part of
ECO will particularly benefit people in social housing. You have to
be on a low income and live in certain areas where the population
size is below 10,000.
Please note that it does not have to be the bill payer's
circumstances that qualify a property for support from ECO. Anyone
who resides at an address can meet the criteria for the property to
The scheme runs until 2017. The energy regulator, Ofgem,
monitors the scheme.
More information on ECO
England and Wales: Information on ECO is
available on the Energy
Saving Trust website (link opens in a new window) and
Gov.UK website (link
opens in a new window)
Scotland: Information on ECO is available on
Energy Savings Trust Scotland website (link opens in a new
The Green Deal (England, Scotland and Wales)
The Green Deal, available in England, Scotland and
Wales, is a way to make energy efficiency improvements to
your home without having to pay 'up front'. Instead, you pay
for it for it by instalments on your electricity bill, for a period
of up to 25 years. Paying through your bill is like a loan – but
for your property, not the person. The payments are agreed at the
start and the loan stays with the property after the bill payer
moves on. The loan can also be paid early, but penalty charges
The Green Deal is designed to ensure that you won't pay
back more than you are saving on your energy bill. This is called
the Golden Rule. However, this is not a guarantee. The actual costs
may exceed the estimated savings. For example, if your energy use
increases or there is a fall in energy prices.
The Green Deal is not means tested.
What steps are involved?
- Ring the Energy Saving Advice Service for your
country. See Getting energy advice. They will advise
on what you may be eligible for and put you into the system for an
assessment to be carried out.
- Assessment: A Green Deal assessor or advisor
assesses your home and recommends energy saving
improvements through a Green Deal advice report. This may not
be free of charge. The Energy Saving Advice Service will let you
know if this is the case.
- Finance: A Green Deal provider gives you
a quote for a Green Deal plan to pay for the improvements
based on the Green Deal advice report. The will estimate
the likely savings on your energy bills as a result of having the
measures installed, and the likely period over which these savings
will be made to ensure you are not paying back more than you are
saving on your energy bills. You are free to shop around for price
of work but must use a registered green deal installer.
- Installation: A Green Deal installer makes the
improvements agreed under your Green Deal plan.
Repayment: You pay for these
improvements through instalments on your electricity
See the information
on the Green Deal on the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has an online
a Green Deal Company tool (link opens in a new window).
It is important to consider the pros and cons of the Green Deal
before deciding to use it.
The consumer charity Which? has information on the Green Deal and
ECO (link opens in a new window) including information
about their investigation into the Green Deal.
The Green Deal and ECO are not available in Northern
Ireland and we do not know if these schemes will be
available there at a later date.
NI Direct website has
information on energy saving grants for people living in Northern
Ireland (link opens in a new window).
Other sources of help
Feed-in Tariffs scheme (FITs)
If you install electricity generating technology from a
renewable or low carbon source (e.g. wind turbines or solar PV, you
may be able to get money from your energy supplier through the UK
Government's Feed-In Tariffs scheme (FITs).
Through FITs, you can be paid for electricity you generate (even
if you use it yourself) and any surplus electricity you export to
the national grid (the network that connects power stations in the
UK). You also save money on your electricity bill because you are
using your own electricity.
See the Energy Saving Trust website for more information on
the Feed-in Tariffs scheme (link opens in a new
Martin Lewis's Money Saving Expert website has information
on solar panels (link opens in a new window).
Home improvement agencies
Home improvement agencies (HIAs) assist vulnerable
homeowners and private sector tenants who are older, disabled or on
a low income to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their homes. The
help they provide may include suggesting and organising
improvements to help with energy efficiency; advising on any
funding sources (national and local) that may be available to you;
and helping you fill in application forms for this support.
They are generally local, not-for-profit organisations.
What is available and how you access help depends on the country
of the UK you live in.
Care and Repair
England website (link opens in a new window) can
advise on home improvements and local home improvement
Foundations (link opens in a new
window), the national organisation in England for home
improvement agency and handyperson services, administers a
fund from the energy company npower to help vulnerable people
on low incomes to replace or renew their boilers or repair
They also have a Foundations
Independence Living Trust (FILT) (link opens in a new
window) which helps older and vulnerable people live with
dignity in their own homes. The Trust gives funds to enable local
home improvement agencies to provide a range of support including
repairs and improvements to people’s homes.
You can also find the details of your local home improvement
agency (including local Care and Repair organisations)
through a postcode search tool on the Foundations website. home
Home improvement agencies can be accessed via the Northern
Ireland Housing Executive in Northern Ireland (link opens in a new
There are several home improvement agencies in Scotland. See the
Care and Repair
Scotland website (link opens in a new window) for more
Care and Repair Cymru (link
opens in a new window) provides home improvement agency
services for people living in Wales.
You may also be able to apply to your local council (link
opens in a new window) for help towards energy efficiency.
npower Health Through Warmth Scheme (England and Wales
- npower Health
Through Warmth (HTW) scheme (link opens in a new window)
was set up in 2000, working together with National Energy Action
(NEA), the national fuel poverty charity, and the NHS. HTW aims to
improve levels of warmth, comfort and quality of life for
vulnerable people who have cold-related illnesses and need help
with the installation of heating and insulation measures or repairs
to existing systems or appliances which they can’t afford
themselves. HTW is available across England and Wales to vulnerable
people who meet the eligibility criteria. You don't have to be
or become an npower customer to receive help from HTW - the scheme
can consider helping you as long as you have a long term health
condition, own the home and have low income/savings.
- You may be able to find out more about local energy efficiency
schemes from your your local
council (link opens in a new window).
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
England, Scotland and Wales
The Renewable Heat Incentive is a Government financial scheme to
promote the use of renewable heating, which can help the UK reduce
its carbon emissions and the country's effects on climate
There are two schemes:
- Domestic RHI scheme: The renewable heating system has to
heat only one property which has or is capable of getting a
domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to prove the property
has been assessed as a domestic dwelling.
- Non-domestic RHI scheme: This scheme is for renewable heating
systems in commercial, public or industrial premises where one
heating system might serve multiple places - such as hospitals,
schools and businesses.
These are both managed by the energy regulator Ofgem
but they have separate tariffs, joining conditions, rules
and application processes.
You can only join one scheme.
If your property set-up is complicated
If you don't know which scheme your property fits into or the
situation does not quite fit the descriptions above, see the
Ofgem fact sheet: The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): Domestic or
Non-domestic? (link opens in a new window) for more
How does the scheme work?
People who join the scheme and stick to its rules receive
quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green
renewable heat their heating system produces.
Who is eligible?
The scheme is open to any household that meets the
eligibility criteria - whether they are off or on the gas grid.
If you are off mains gas, you have the most chance to save on
your fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions through this
What is renewable heating?
The technologies currently covered by the scheme are:
- Biomass heating systems, which burn fuel such as wood pellets,
chips or logs to provide central heating and hot water in a home.
Biomass-only boilers are designed to provide heating using a ‘wet
system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water. Pellet stoves
with integrated boilers are designed to burn only wood pellets and
can heat the room they are in directly, as well as provide heat to
the rest of the home using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators)
and provide hot water.
- Ground or water source heat pumps, which extract heat from the
ground or water. This heat can then be used to provide heating
and/or hot water in a home.
- Air to water heat pumps, which absorb heat from the outside
air. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water
in a home.
- Solar thermal panels, which collect heat from the sun and use
it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. The
two types of panels that are eligible are evacuated tube panels and
liquid-filled flat plate panels.
Only one space heating system is allowed per property but
homeowners can apply for solar thermal for hot water and a space
Renewable Heat Incentive: more information and
To find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive or to apply,
If you can't apply online, contact Ofgem on telephone:
0845 200 2122).
You can also apply
Northern Ireland has its own Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
For more information, see the
NI Direct website information on Renewable Heat Funding (link opens
in a new window).
- The Energy Saving Trust (link
opens in a new window) has information about energy and energy
efficiency. Please make sure you are looking at the information
relevant to the country of the UK you live in.
- Home Heat Helpline
(link opens in a new window) is a free service available
to people living in England, Scotland and Wales that advises people
worried about paying their fuel bills and keeping warm during the
winter. It also gives advice to low-income households in urgent
need of heating help and advice. Call them on 0800 33 66 99
(Minicom: 0800 027 2122).
Turn2us would like to thank Alistair Wilcox of Motherwell
Citizens Advice Bureau and the representatives of Energy Action
Scotland, Foundations and Nest for reviewing this information
Last updated: 6 October 2014