29 November 2022 – The Government has announced the Eco+ Scheme that will help middle-earners to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Government has unveiled a new grants scheme that will help middle-earners, who could not benefit from previous schemes, to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Eco+ Scheme has been launched today by Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps in an effort to help millions of people across the UK to reduce their energy consumption.
As an extension to the previously announced Eco4 scheme, which helped lower-income families to insulate their houses, it is part of the wider energy policy for the UK to become energy independent.
The Government has pledged £1bn funding for this new grants scheme.
What The Scheme Offers
The Eco+ Scheme will provide up to 80% of the funding to middle-earners to make their homes more energy efficient.
It targets the least energy efficient homes in the country, those with an EPC rating of D or below. Homes in lower Council Tax bands will be able to access this scheme, so bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and A-C in Wales.
Improvements included in the scheme will mainly be focused on insulation measures, such as loft insulation or cavity wall insulation.
Set to start in spring 2023, the scheme will run for up to three years.
The Government hopes this scheme will support the target of reducing the UK’s energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. The scheme should also help to ensure that the Government will meet its target that all homes have an EPC band C by 2035.
As of yet, no information has been given on how people will be able to access these grants.
Alongside the launch of the Eco+ Scheme, a new public information campaign will also be launched, which will give advice on how to reduce energy use.
The £18m campaign will include tips and guidance such as reducing the flow temperature of your boiler from 75C to 60C. By doing so and also turning down radiators in empty rooms, households could save an average of £160 a year.
Eco+ Scheme Doesn’t Target Least Energy Efficient Houses
The new scheme has been criticised as too little too late, because it will only help a small amount of families.
This reheated announcement with no new resources is far too little too late and will help only a tiny fraction of the millions of people facing a cost-of-living emergency this winter.Ed Miliband, Labour Shadow Climate Change Secretary
Greenpeace UK has also been critical of the scheme, saying that the funding is not enough, warning that 19 million homes in England and Wales are badly insulated. The organisation claims that at least £6bn would be needed.
While the Government claims that they will target the least energy efficient homes, they also say that the scheme will mostly fund measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation.
By rolling out predominantly low-cost insulation measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, the ECO+ scheme will support the government’s new ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030.Government Press Release
According to an article on the Uswitch website, cavity walls lose less heat than solid walls, which means that older houses with solid walls are the least energy efficient houses. These houses would need external or internal insulation, which can be very costly.
The Government admits that they will only fund low-cost insulation measures, which will not help people with homes with solid walls.
A government report from March 2021 by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy stated that 8.5 million properties in GB have solid walls. Only 9% of those have solid wall insulation.
In comparison, 20.4 million houses have cavity walls with 70% having cavity wall insulation.
These figures clearly show that if the Government wants to meet their target of a 15% reduction in energy consumption from buildings, their efforts and money should be concentrated on getting older houses with solid walls insulated.
Because solid wall insulation, which can cost thousands of pounds, is so much more expensive than cavity wall insulation, many homeowners will not be able to afford it without support.
By only focussing on low-cost measures, which do not cover the 91% of the least energy efficient homes, this scheme is only a token gesture. It leaves it up to the homeowners themselves to shoulder the cost to insulate their homes, if they don’t have cavity walls.
While it is great to hear that the Government extends help for improving the energy efficiency of houses to middle-earners, their claim that they target the least energy efficient homes is incorrect, because they are only willing to fund low-cost measures, which do not cover those homes that need insulation the most.