How to improve the energy efficiency of your home for free or at a discount

Find out about ways to fund home improvements, including with the Energy Company Obligation scheme.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home today could help save you money in the long run. We understand that you might be unable to afford the costs, but did you know that you could get free or discounted improvements from the government or your energy supplier? 

Lady taking a break from making home improvements

These schemes could change, so keep checking back, or visit the listed websites for the latest information

Take a look at the ways you can get some help with your home. 


Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO)

The Energy Company Obligation scheme launched in 2013 and is designed to help low-income and vulnerable households make their homes more energy efficient.

It works through the various energy suppliers, who are now obligated to reduce the cost of heating our homes. They work with their customers to find out what’s required to raise the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of every home. The energy company can then offer to do the work that’s needed.

If your energy company is signed up to the ECO scheme, you could get free wall and loft insulation, and money off a replacement gas boiler. With this work done and potentially a brand new boiler in place, you’ll benefit from lower energy bills going forward.

You’ll probably qualify for the ECO scheme so long as:

  • You own or privately rent your home and it has an EPC rating of D to G.
  • You qualify for Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Child Benefits or another UK benefit allowance.

Each ECO scheme runs in a fixed time period. Applications for the ECO3 scheme closed in March 2022, while ECO4 is set to run from 2022 until 2026.

Under the scheme, your energy supplier might offer to carry out the work for free. They might ask you to pay for some of it. You don’t have to go ahead with the work if you feel your contribution is too high.

Use Ofgem’s supplier contact details to check if your supplier is part of the ECO scheme and get in touch with them.


Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

Are you a property owner in England or Wales? If so, you can apply for a grant to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps.

The scheme is open from 2022 to 2028, and you could get:

  • £7,500 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump.
  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler.
  • £7,500 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump.

For the latest information, including the eligibility criteria, visit www.gov.uk.


Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

If you have, or are looking to install, renewable energy measures in your home, you could be eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). This is where the SEG pays customers for the excess renewable electricity their homes generate, but don’t use themselves.

The electricity can be produced by the following renewable technologies:

  • Solar panels (photovoltaic, or PV for short).
  • Wind.
  • Hydro micro combined heat and power.
  • Anaerobic digestion.

Make sure you sign up to the SEG tariff to receive payment. If you don’t, your energy will go back into the grid, but you won’t get paid for it.

Find the latest information and sign up to SEG.

 

Great British Insulation Scheme

Families in lower council tax bands with less energy-efficient homes will be offered vital upgrades - such as roof, loft, or cavity wall insulation - which could cut their annual energy bill by an average of between £300 to £400. This support will run alongside the existing Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which offers free home energy-efficiency improvements, such as insulation, heat pumps and solar panels to families on low incomes. Apply for support from the Great British Insulation Scheme through the Government website.

 

Warmer Homes Scotland

If you’ve lived in Scotland for more than 12 months and you’re a private tenant or have your own home, you could be eligible for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme. It offers financial help with home improvements such as wall and loft insulation and draught-proofing.

Most of the time, the costs are covered by the Scottish government, but if there’s a lot of work to be done, you may need to contribute.


Home Energy Scotland scheme

Or a government grant of up to £7500 through the Home Energy Scotland Scheme for residents of Scotland

Find out more about financial support.


Home Energy Scotland Loan (HES)

Don’t meet the criteria for Warmer Homes Scotland? You could try a HES loan instead.

It’s an interest-free loan to help make energy and money saving improvements to your home. These can range from installing loft insulation to upgrading your home’s heating system. The interest-free loan is funded by the Scottish government.

Visit Energy Saving Trust to find out if you’re eligible and how you can apply.


Nest Scheme Wales

Open to all households in Wales, Nest provides advice on saving energy, money management, energy tariffs and benefit entitlement.

Their aim is to make Welsh homes warmer and more energy efficient. Better yet, all of their advice is free!

Plus, if you or someone in your household receives means tested benefits, you could be eligible for free home improvements.

Find out more about Nest.


Affordable Warmth Scheme Northern Ireland

You could get up to £7,500 to cover the costs of insulation, double glazed windows and heating updates from the Affordable Warmth Scheme in Northern Ireland.

You may be eligible for this scheme if you:

  • Live in Northern Ireland.
  • Own and occupy your house.
  • Rent from a private landlord.
  • Have a total annual gross income of less than £23,000.

See the latest information and criteria Affordable Warmth Scheme.


Boiler Replacement Scheme Northern Ireland

If you’re in Northern Ireland, your boiler is over 15 years old and your household income is less than £40,000, you can apply for a grant of up to £1,000 to help replace your boiler.

Find out more about Boiler Replacement Scheme.