With energy bills rising, it's important to make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible. This can be costly, but there are various government grants available nationally to help bring the bills down.
Many of the energy efficiency grant schemes have been set up to help people who are in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty - read on to find out more about the main schemes, including how to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.
Which grants or financial assistance are available?
Energy Companies Obligation programme
Thanks to the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) programme, households that meet certain criteria can qualify for free or discounted energy-efficient home improvements - usually cavity wall or loft insulation, but sometimes boiler replacement.
The ECO scheme requires that larger energy suppliers (those with 250,000 customers or more) provide assistance to their vulnerable customers so they can reduce the cost of heating their homes. However, this doesn't mean you can claim back the cost of installing any energy-efficient measures yourself - the work must go through your supplier.
The availability of different measures varies by energy supplier — it is worth checking with yours to see what you may be eligible for.
The third ECO policy (essentially the same policy with certain amendments made) closed in March, but will resume later this year and run until March 2026.
Warmer Homes Scotland programme
Established under the Home Energy Scotland banner, the Warmer Homes Scotland programme is available for Scottish residential homes (homeowners and private sector tenants who have used the property as their main residence for at least 12 months), and aims to help make heating more affordable by making homes more energy efficient.
The programme makes it possible for qualified households to acquire grants for up £5,000 in energy-efficient upgrades such as:
- Wall insulation
- Loft insulation
- Central heating (such as installing a new boiler)
- Renewable energy systems
To qualify, houses must:
- Have an energy rating of 72 or lower
- Not have a floor size larger than 230 metres
- Meet the tolerable living standard set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006
- Not have received support for energy efficiency improvements through Warmer Homes Scotland funding in the last five years
To qualify, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:
- Be of pensionable age, have no working heating system and receive a passport benefit
- Be aged over 75 and receive a passport benefit
- Be pregnant and/or have a child under 16 and receive a passport benefit
- Have a disability and receive any level of Personal Independent Payment
- Have a disability and receive high rate Disability Living Allowance
- Have a disability and receive low/medium rate Disability Living Allowance in addition to an income-related benefit
- Be a carer and receive Carers Allowance
- Have been injured or disabled serving in the Armed Forces and receive Armed Forces Independence Payment or a War Disablement Pension
- Have an injury or disability from an accident or disease caused by work and receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
To see the full list of eligibility criteria and for more information, call 0808 808 2282 or visit the Warmer Homes Scotland page.
Nest Fuel Poverty scheme (Wales)
Nest is the Welsh Assembly Government's scheme that offers grants to low-income households which may be in fuel poverty.
The scheme aims to make homes warmer and reduce bills, therefore reducing the number of homes living in fuel poverty. It is available to every home in Wales, with some eligibility requirements.
The Nest programme takes a 'whole house' approach to determining what energy improvement work would be most suitable. Eligible applicants will be offered a package of measures they could take - some examples include:
- Loft and cavity wall insulation
- Solid wall insulation
- Draught proofing
- Boiler replacement
To be eligible for a Nest assessment and potential energy improvement work, you must:
- Own or be privately renting your home
- Have a home which is energy-inefficient and expensive to heat
- Be receiving a means-tested benefit (such as Child Tax Credit, housing benefit, Pension Credit, etc) or have a chronic respiratory, circulatory or mental health condition and an income below the defined thresholds
How to apply for Wales’s Nest energy efficiency programme:
- Email your interest in Nest using firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 0800 512 012 free from a landline, or 0300 456 2655 free from a mobile phone
Boiler Upgrade Scheme (England and Wales)
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a government financial support scheme designed to offer grants to homes that switch to renewable heat systems. It replaced the Renewable Heat Incentive in April 2022.
Participants who install an approved system between 2022 and 2025 will receive a incentivising grant from the government to help with the cost of the installation.
Here are some examples of the types of alternative renewable heating system eligible for a grant under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme:
If you're not eligible for the main national schemes, it's worth noting that there are localised schemes for people living in different areas around the country, which we haven't focused on here - to see what's available where you live, enter your postcode in the entry box at the top of this page.