Here's how to get money off or free home improvements

Want to make your house energy efficient but need money to get started? Ask the government or your energy supplier for help.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home could save you money and reduce your carbon emissions – and the best bit is, if you want to get started, the government or your energy company may help you to pay the up-front costs.

Lady taking a break from making home improvements

Here are some ideas for ways to get help…


ECO Scheme (Energy Company Obligation Scheme)


With the ECO Scheme, you could get:

  • Free wall insulation
  • Free loft insulation
  • Money off a replacement gas boiler.

The cash comes straight from your energy supplier, so you’ll need to make sure they’re signed up to the scheme.

Ofgem has a list of all the suppliers signed up to ECO and a way to get in contact with them.

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 A to E
  • You qualify for Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Child Benefits or another UK benefit allowance.

Your energy supplier should be able to supply a full list of qualifying benefits. You only need to qualify for one type of support to apply for the scheme.

RHI Scheme (Renewable Heat Incentive)

The UK aims to produce 12% of its heat from renewable sources by 2020. And to get people interested, the government is giving financial rewards to homeowners who switch to renewable heat sources.

So, if you install renewable sources such as:

  • Biomass boilers
  • Solar water heating
  • Some types of heat pumps

... the government will reimburse you four times a year to offset the costs of installing and running these heating systems.

What do you need to be eligible? Simply to own your home or be a private or social landlord. You can find all the other details on the government website.

Unfortunately, the scheme is not open to people in Northern Ireland and some new build properties won’t make it onto the scheme either.

Ofgem has all the details and will help you start your application – remember, you must apply within 12 months of first switching on (commissioning) your renewable heat sources.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The SEG pays households for the excess renewable electricity they 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
The government said that homes putting excess renewable electricity into the grid are guaranteed payment for it under the new scheme. But you have to sign up to SEG tariff with a company, otherwise you won't get paid for your electricity and will export any you generate but don't use to the National Grid for free.

Warmer Homes Scotland

If you're a homeowner or private tenant in Scotland and have lived in your home for more than 12 months the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme offers financial help with home improvements such as wall and loft insulation and draught-proofing. You'll need to meet certain criteria and receive certain benefits. Often all costs will be met by the Scottish Government, though for more expensive improvements you may need to contribute. You can pay for this work with an interest-free loan.

Home Energy Scotland Loan (HES)

Are you a homeowner or landlord in Scotland?

If so, you can apply for 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.

The amount you can borrow will depend on the type of energy saving improvement you look to make. To find out more, including how to apply, visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

Nest Scheme

Nest is a Welsh Government scheme which is 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 – and the great news is that all of their advice is free!

Plus, if you or someone else in your household receives a means tested benefit, you could also be eligible for free home energy efficient improvements.

Find out more on the Nest website.

Boiler replacement scheme (Northern Ireland)

You could get a grant of up to £1,000 to help replace your boiler. Your boiler needs to be at least 15 years old and your household income is less than £40,000.

Affordable warmth scheme (Northern Ireland)

If your total household income is less than £20,000 and you own or rent your home, you may be able to get grants of up to £7,500 to make improvements. You can claim for improvements such as insulation, heating and window glazing through the Affordable warmth scheme.

EVHS Scheme (Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme)

If you're thinking of buying an electric car, but worried about the extra costs to install a charging station. Then worry no more, the government has to pay up to 75% (capped at £500) of the cost of buying and installing an EV charge point in your home.

You can apply for two EVHS grants per household, so long as you're installing two or more charge points. There are a few rules. For instance, you will need to prove you have off-street parking, the grants will only cover the new 'smart' charge points, and you must apply within four months of installation.