Free Boilers in Scotland? And Other Questions about Scottish Energy Funding

Can I get a free boiler in Scotland? Am I eligible for free insulation? Can I get a grant for energy saving in Scotland?

Don’t worry, we’re here to clear up some of your questions about how Scottish people can make the most of their local funding programmes. Let us introduce you to the HEEPS, the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland.

HEEPS: Area Based Schemes

The area based schemes are a partnership between the Scottish Government and local authorities to tackle what is commonly known as fuel poverty. The central government provides part of the funding that local authorities manage the scheme by awarding energy saving measures to local residents.

Availability is very much regional, as the scheme specifically targets areas in most need. There’s a pretty wide variety of installations available, from solid and cavity wall insulation to brand new heating systems, however each area has its own management and award system. Give your local council a call and find out what is on offer in your area.

HEEPS: Warmer Homes Scotland

The Warmer Homes Scotland scheme works under the dual aim of reducing national fuel bills and upgrading the energy efficiency of properties across the country. If you are a ‘vulnerable person’ privately occupying a house in Scotland, regardless of whether you own or rent, you can qualify. Run across Scotland, Warmer Homes Scotland is very similar to the counterpart in England and Wales, with the most common measures installed being boilers and insulation. The potential gains are significant; according to the stats from the Energy Saving Trust, the majority of beneficiaries have benefitted from improvements value over £4,000, leading to an average of saving  £350 a year on bills. Not bad!

Although the project is available throughout Scotland, Warmworks Scotland is the company behind the rollout, and regional delivery means that those in the highlands, islands, and other remote parts of the country need not fear. This was a conscious choice to prevent a bias against difficult-to-access areas. The full criteria are as follows…

The household must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Be homeowners or the tenants of a private-sector landlord;
  • Live in the home as their main residence;
  • Have lived there for at least 12 months (unless in receipt of a DS1500 certificate);
  • Live in home with an energy rating of 64 or lower and which is not more than 230 square metres in floor size;
  • Live in a home that meets the tolerable living standard set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 or, where the home does not meet the tolerable living standards, this will not impact on the effectiveness of the measures recommended for installation under the scheme;
  • Householders must not have received support for energy efficiency measures through Warmer Homes Scotland or HEEPS ABS funding in the last five years.

The applicant must meet ONE of the following conditions

  • Be of pensionable age, have no working heating system and be in receipt of a passport benefit (this is basically just any qualifying benefit listed below – why they feel the need to call it a “passport benefit” is beyond me);
  • Be aged over 75 and in receipt of a passport benefit;
  • Pregnant and/or have a child under 16 and in receipt of a passport benefit;
  • Have a disability and be in receipt of any level of Personal Independent Payment (PIP);
  • Have a disability and be in receipt of high rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (care or mobility component);
  • Have a disability and be in receipt of low/medium rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (care or mobility component) and be in receipt of an income related benefit;
  • Be a carer in receipt of Carers Allowance;
  • Have been injured or disabled serving in the Armed Forces and be in receipt of Armed Forces Independence Payment/War Disablement Pension;
  • Have an injury or disability from an accident or disease caused by work and be in receipt of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Qualifying Passport Benefits:

  • Guarantee element of the Pension Credit;
  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Universal Credit or any of the benefits due to be replaced by Universal Credit (Income Based JSA, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit);
  • Council Tax Reduction (excluding 25% discount for single occupancy);
  • Carer’s Allowance;
  • Higher Rate Care or Mobility components of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment;
  • War Disablement Pension;
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

HEEPS: Home Energy Scotland Loan

If you’re keen to make your house more energy efficient, but don’t qualify for the Warmer Homes Scotland or Area Based Schemes, you’d be remiss to think that you’re out of options. Luckily for owner-occupiers and eligible registered private sector landlords, the Scottish Government has set up a fund of interest-free loans for up to £38,500 per home (this has gone up from where it stood previously at £32,500). That’s a whole big chunk of change to spend on improving your home and cutting your bills; savings which will go back into paying off that interest free loan!

The £38,500 is split up in to the following categories:

  • Up to £17,500 for renewable energies (eg, heat pumps, solar panels, etc)
  • Up to £15,000 for energy efficiency measures (eg, insulation, double glazing)
  • Up to £6,000 for energy storage

The repayment period is dependent on the loan amount, with the higher amounts being given a pretty lenient payoff time of 12 years. There is also a rather attractive opportunity to make up to 25%  (up to a maximum of £3750) back; the funding for this is finite so if you’re considering the loan then bear in mind that the cashback will be taken off the total repayment amounts on a first-come first-served basis.

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