If you’re anything like me then ‘Free’ is one of your favourite words (along with ‘avocados’ and ‘half price Pinot Grigio’). So if you thought there wasn’t a way to make loft insulation exciting then you’ve obviously never prefixed it with the word ‘free’.
Not everyone is eligible and the system couldn’t exactly be called simple, but it’s been a cold hard winter so if you think you might qualify for a government grant to insulate your loft, then we’re here to help.
Why bother with loft insulation?
It’s not as fun as buying a new TV or a holiday to Greece, we know that, but the savings you make with it could make those things possible! Without proper loft insulation a huge amount of the warmth produced by your home heating system escapes through the roof of your property; as much as 25% of the heat in an uninsulated house is lost in this way. Loft insulation acts as a barrier, slowing the movement of heat out of the property during the winter and into the property during the summer. Obviously insulation is not all created equal, that’s why we recommend sheep wool insulation – 100% natural, 100% sustainable and completely irritant free.
Loft insulation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the EPC rating of your home, and relative to other forms of insulation and thermal regulation it’s notably cheap. For many of us, however, cheap and free are two very different beasts – the Energy Saving Trust reckons that loft insulation can save between £120 and £225 a year but costs up to £400 to install. However, with government incentives available for improving energy efficiency in residential properties, it could be more feasible than you think to apply for low cost insulation.
Can I get free loft insulation under the Green Deal?
The Green Deal was a UK government policy that ran from 2013 to 2015, providing loans for energy saving measures in properties nationwide. Unlike previous schemes that had allowed households to get energy saving measures installed for free, the Green Deal moved away from this and instead offered finance based on the expected energy savings that the energy saving measure provides. Under the scheme, householders could avoid the upfront costs of insulation. As a concept it worked well, unfortunately in practise it was too complicated, with substantial set up fees and high interest rates.
Last year saw the soft relaunch of the Green Deal, this time from the private sector, but the problems of the original scheme have continued to plague it. More details about the new Green Deal scheme are expected to surface in the imminent future, but for now the better avenue to explore is ECO. The what?
Can I get free loft insulation under ECO?
The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme set up in 2013 to replace the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). That’s a lot of acronyms that sound very impressive but essentially do quite a basic job – helping the UK reduce energy usage. The ECO obliges any energy company over a certain size to offer grants to improve the energy efficiency of low performing households and low income families. According to the UK government, around 1.6m homes had energy efficiency measures installed between 2013 and 2016 as part of ECO.
Figuring out if you’re eligible for ECO is frustratingly complicated. It takes into account what improvements your home needs, where you live, the level of carbon or cost savings made and if you receive any benefits. It’s complicated and more than a little bureaucratic, but if you qualify then you could find yourself in for a much warmer winter next year. Unfortunately, the complexity makes it pretty difficult to be able to outright list those who are eligible; the best way to find out if you’re entitled to an ECO grant is to get directly in touch with your energy supplier or even another provider that you don’t belong to – unless stated otherwise they should still be able to help. ECO legislation means that if you qualify for the scheme then they are compelled to facilitate it.
- E.on – available to all. Apply via E.on’s site – you have to apply for cavity wall insulation first and request loft insulation on top during your free home survey. If you’re on benefits, you can also apply for loft insulation on its own through this E.on link instead.
- Npower – available to all. Check this on Npower’s site. If not on benefits, you can get cavity wall insulation, or both cavity wall and loft insulation if installed at the same time. Those on benefits can apply for loft insulation on its own.
- EDF – only available to EDF customers. Check EDF’s site. You can apply for either loft insulation whether you’re on benefits or not.
- SSE – only available to those on certain benefits. See its full eligibility criteria or fill out an online enquiry form.