energy government insulation

The Great British Insulation Scheme is live: what is it and what does it mean?

Q3 2023


Donna Rourke

Head of ESG and Sustainability

+44 7443372273

In March 2023, the Government announced The Great British Insulation Scheme, which will run from summer 2023 to March 2026. The scheme has gone live this month, meaning that residential properties in council tax bands A-D in England, or A-E in Scotland and Wales, with EPC ratings of D or below may now be eligible for one 90%-funded insulation upgrade. These upgrades will be available from participating energy companies following new Energy Company Obligation legislation imposed by the Government in August 2023.

Since it began in 2013, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has delivered around 3.5 million measures in around 2.4 million properties. To date, around 9% of households in Great Britain have had an ECO measure installed. The current iteration, ECO4, is expected to deliver energy efficiency measures to an estimated 450,000 low-income and vulnerable households and the Great British Insulation Scheme is expected to help a further 300,000 of the country’s least efficient homes.

The Great British Insulation scheme, which replaces ECO+, is different to ECO4 in that the income status of the owner or occupier does not impact eligibility. Rather, the scheme is funded by the energy companies and applications can be made through their websites. The energy companies have compiled a list of Trustmark approved who, following the household’s application, will call the applicant for EPC and council tax band details before visiting, assessing the property, and making insulation recommendations that best impact EPC ratings. They would then arrange a further visit for installation.

Rented properties can be eligible but there are additional terms and conditions. Only properties in EPC bands D and E will be eligible and only for higher cost insulation measures excluding loft and cavity wall insulation. Usual listed building and/or conservation rules will apply.

Although designed primarily for homeowners, the roll out of the scheme is likely to be welcomed by those with a let portfolio too, given that the cost associated with implementing potential energy saving improvements is often one of the main barriers, highlights Alexander Macfarlane, head of Building Consultancy at Strutt & Parker. “

Alexander urges the usual caution when agreeing to instruct recommended providers by installation contractors, and recommends checking you understand fully the proposed activity the contractor recommends, particularly if you have a period property. “Appointing an experienced property professional can help ensure recommended measures will have a genuine beneficial impact on both energy efficiency, and a reduction in heat loss without a material impact on the fabric of the property” he says.

Due consideration should always be given to the property’s original construction and methodology to ensure any improvements made in good faith don’t have unintended consequences in subsequent months/years.

For our Building Consultancy team, impartiality means that they act in the client’s best interests at all times and are happy to have those ‘difficult conversations’ with any consultant or contractor when necessary. They are also able to make comment against statutory matters/consents to ensure all parties are protected.

Useful links:

You can check a property’s council tax band here: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands

You can check a property’s EPC rating here: https://www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate

More technical details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/design-of-the-energy-company-obligation-eco-2023-2026