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What is the ECO4 Scheme?
ECO4 is a UK government initiative that obligates the UK’s largest energy companies to fund energy-saving upgrades to eligible households.
So, if you’ve been thinking of replacing that old boiler, adding insulation, or even daydreaming about solar panels, ECO4 might just be your ticket to a more energy-efficient home, 100% paid for by the scheme.
ECO4 is not just about making your place cosier either; it’s your chance to slash those energy bills and give Mother Earth a little love by reducing the emissions heating an inefficient home produce.
Curious to see if you qualify and want to know about the scheme? Keep reading, and we’ll spill the deets on eligibility, benefits, and how to apply!
But what’s the main focus of ECO4?
The ECO4 program, now in its fourth phase, is part of a government initiative that kicked off in 2013 to assist UK households in saving energy. This initiative is rooted in the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 2050.
Here’s an interesting and scary fact: a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions come from heating buildings. So by improving the energy efficiency of homes across the nation, we can make a substantial impact in reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
ECO4 has already made a positive impact, benefiting over 3.6 million households. These homes received improvements like better insulation, new boilers, heat pumps, and solar panels.
It’s all about supporting families on lower incomes who find it challenging to make their homes more energy-efficient and are at risk of fuel poverty, meaning if they heat their homes, they may need to cut back on essential expenses. Shockingly, its estimated that nearly 20% of households in the UK could be living with or facing fuel poverty.
ECO4 is there to step in to help these families by providing funding for upgrades that enhance the energy efficiency of their homes. The best part? The grants awarded don’t need to be paid back, and once the upgrades are in place, they become the property of the homeowner.
What’s in it for you if you’re eligible for ECO4?
1. Saving money on energy bills: The ECO4 scheme helps eligible households use less energy, which means they can spend less money on their energy bills. Each home is different, but savings could be between £1,000 and £2,000 for the most inefficient homes and hundreds of pounds saved for others.
As an example, the Energy Savings Trust Estimates that for an average detached house, simply adding adequate loft insulation could save up to £420 a year on energy bills.
2. Making homes more comfortable and healthy: The scheme makes homes warmer and drier, making it more comfortable to live in and reducing the health risks of things like mould and damp. This is especially beneficial for people with health problems like respiratory or heart issues.
3. Reducing carbon footprint: ECO4 encourages households to use cleaner energy such as solar and use less energy thanks to proper insulation and modern efficient heating systems. This will reduce carbon emissions and help the UK reach its goal of producing zero carbon emissions by 2050.
What Home Upgrades are available through ECO4?
ECO4 can enhance existing homes in several ways:
1. The ECO4 scheme takes a fabric-first approach, which means it focuses on improving the building itself before installing new heating systems.
Insulation is a key focus, ensuring the heat you produce stays in your home. The scheme offers cavity wall, solid wall, floor, room in a roof, and loft insulation, with each option tailored to your home’s specific requirements.
2. ECO4 promotes the installation of eco-friendly heating systems and green technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels. These systems not only cut down on carbon emissions but also contribute to lowering energy bills. Heat pumps utilise natural heat sources, while solar panels generate electricity from sunlight. For more information on solar PV grants click here and to learn about heat pump grants see here
3. To make sure the country hits its net zero by 2050 goal, ECO4 will not repair coal-fuelled, oil- and LPG-fuelled heating systems, instead, if the household is eligible, alternative heating systems such as a heat pump will be offered.
ECO4 also provides funding for repairing or replacing old boilers that no longer function effectively to make the most of their boilers and use them up to their fullest potential (typically 12 years).
How is ECO4 different from ECO3?
ECO4 and ECO3 share many similarities, but ECO4 focuses on reaching even more vulnerable households in areas with high fuel poverty.
It specifically targets households receiving benefits or those in the low-income bracket with the goal of ensuring all homes can access affordable energy.
A notable difference BETWEEN ECO3 AND ECO4 is that some benefits eligible under ECO3 are no longer available on the ECO4 Scheme. This change is aimed at better direct assistance to households more likely to have low incomes.
In terms of impact, while ECO3 saw almost 134,000 boiler upgrades, ECO4 aims to limit this to just 5,000 upgrades, and a limited number of households will now benefit from a biomass boiler, meaning more homes will instead receive improved insulation or an air-source heat pump.
Who is eligible for the ECO4 Scheme?
The ECO4 scheme targets households on the lowest incomes and in the least efficient homes. There are two main eligibility criteria for the ECO4 scheme.
1. To be eligible for the ECO4 scheme, you must be receiving one of the following qualifying benefits:
- Child Benefit*
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – Income Based
- Housing Benefit – new eligible benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – Income Based
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Pension Credit Savings Credit – new eligible benefit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
*If Child Benefit is the only benefit you receive, you will also need to have a household income equal or less than the levels shown in the table below.
Number of Children
The following are non-means-tested benefits that were included in ECO3 but are no longer eligible for ECO4:
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
2. ECO4 Flex also known as the Local Authority Flex Scheme (LA Flex):
Households that do not receive means-tested benefits but are still on low incomes or in fuel poverty, may be eligible for the ECO4 scheme under the ECO4 Flex scheme.
This is a voluntary scheme that allows local authorities, the Scottish and Welsh governments, and obligated suppliers to identify and refer eligible households based on their own criteria. The ECO4 Flex scheme covers up to 50% of the ECO4 obligation target.
In addition to the income criteria, the ECO4 scheme also considers the energy efficiency rating of your home.
Only homes with an energy efficiency band of D-G are eligible for the ECO4 scheme, with the exception of social housing and private rented accommodation, which are only eligible if they have a band of E-G.
More information on ECO4 Flex here
Now you know all about ECO4
We hope this answered any questions you have about ECO4, who it’s for and why it exists.Feel free to call us on 0330 4600 065 if you have any more questions or want to see if you’re eligible. You can also reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply for the ECO4 Scheme with Warma UK
If you believe the ECO4 scheme could benefit you, Warma UK is ready to help you every step of the way, from application right through to installation.
We’ll guide you through the process, ensuring you understand every step and meet all requirements.
With our expertise, we can help maximise your opportunity to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Don’t miss out on the chance to enhance your living space and reduce your energy bills. Reach out to Warma UK today to start your ECO4 application journey.