What is the ECO4 scheme?

All of the information you need to know about the ECO4 scheme including who is eligible, what’s included and how you can apply.

In the UK, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) aims to reduce carbon emissions and relieve fuel poverty.

Since its introduction in 2013, ECO has undergone several reforms to better meet the needs of households and communities. The latest version of the scheme, ECO4, was launched in 2022 and is set to run until 2026.

A key focus of ECO4 is installing energy-efficient measures in homes, particularly for those living in fuel poverty.

As part of the scheme, energy companies are required to deliver a certain amount of energy-saving measures and are incentivised to do so through several financial and non-financial incentives.

ECO4 offers measures as insulation, heating systems, and the installation of solar panels for renewable energy.

The scope and focus of ECO have evolved over time to better reflect the changing energy landscape and household needs.

In order to support off-gas properties and homes without access to the gas grid, ECO4 provided free solar panels, insulation, and heating systems to these homes. More homes have been able to take advantage of the scheme as a result of this reduction in the gap between energy-efficient homes and those that are not connected to the gas grid.

In England, Wales, and Scotland, ECO4 provides much-needed support to households struggling with high energy and fuel costs

What you can find on this page

Check if you qualify for the ECO4 scheme

Interested to see whether you are eligible for the ECO4 scheme? Our Energy Advice Helpline grant checker is below. Just click your answers below to see if you are eligible for any current UK energy grant schemes. 

Who is eligible for the ECO4 scheme?

The criteria for the ECO4 scheme are set by central UK Government.

This is a means tested scheme, aimed at targeting the most vulnerable households in the UK with the least energy efficient properties.

Initially the scheme was only available for homes without mains gas, however the scheme has now been extended.

How you heat your home: the main aspect of the ECO4 scheme is for homes without a mains gas supply. This is generally off-grid properties in rural areas across the UK, or homes which have never been connected to the grid so do not have a mains gas connection.

Your personal circumstances: in order to be eligible for the main aspect of the scheme, you or somebody living in the property must be in receipt of a means tested benefit (Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Income based Jobseekers allowance, Income related Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credit. Depending on household income, those in receipt of Child Benefit can also qualify for the scheme.) If you or anybody living in your home don’t receive one of the eligible benefits, you could still be eligible for support as part of the ECO4 FLEX, this is for households with a total annual household income below £31,000.

Additional support: if you have a mains gas supply to your home, you could still be eligible for support. Properties with a non-condensing boiler could qualify for a new combi-boiler as part of the scheme. Often, boilers over 10 years old can be non-condensing as they are no longer manufactured do to their poor efficiency.

Learn more: Help from your energy supplier: the Energy Company Obligation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

ECO4 scheme in the UK

Health-Related Eligibility for ECO4 Scheme

If you have a health condition worsened by living in a cold home, you may be eligible for the ECO4 grants.

Eligible health conditions include:

  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Limited mobility
  • Immunosuppression

To qualify, your health condition must be verified by one of the following:

  • A general medical practitioner
  • A Health Board in Scotland
  • A Local Health Board in Wales
  • An NHS foundation trust
  • An NHS trust

Learn More: ECO4 Route 3 : Medical Referrals – Energy Advice Helpline

No income requirements are necessary to qualify through this health route. A medical practitioner will need to complete a referral form to confirm your eligibility.

ECO4 scheme in the UK

What's included in the ECO4 scheme?

The ECO4 scheme is a whole home scheme. The scheme designed to make substantial energy efficiency upgrades to the whole property to improve the property EPC (energy performance certificate) rating.

Solar Panels will be supplied and installed by MCS accredited installers on the roof of the property. The number and power of the Solar Panels will be decided based on energy usage, roof size and suitability.

Property Insulation will be supplied and installed in your home by trained professionals. The insulation could include loft insulation, internal wall insulation, under-floor insulation or cavity wall insulation. The type and volume of insulation will be decided by a surveyor based on property suitability and structure.

Air Source Heat Pump will be fitted by a professional engineer. The size of the heat pump will be dependent on size of the property, energy usage and other factors. 

If the property has a mains gas supply and meets the ECO4 criteria relating to having a non-condensing boiler, a combi-boiler will be fitted by a Gas Safe Engineer as well as property insulation where required.

Get Solar Panels with the ECO4 scheme

How can solar panels help?

There are many misconceptions relating to solar panels which can result in a reluctance in uptake in the UK.

Solar panels can still produce energy all year round and it does not necessarily have to be sunny in order for the panels to work. Modern solar panels can still generate power on cloudy days when installed correctly.

There have also been previous offers from private installers which resulted in homeowners buying panels on finance agreements across lengthy periods. This resulted in people struggling to sell their homes due to outstanding finance agreements. The ECO4 scheme is a completely free scheme and the homeowner will own the panels outright from day 1. The homeowner will never have any issues selling their home.

In the UK, some homes are benefiting from the great performance of modern solar panels. Through smart planning, residents carry out heavy energy usage during the daytime such as using washing machines, tumble dryers and charging electronic devices to ensure they are using all of the energy they have generated.

A typical 4kw solar panel system in the UK, will generally produce around 3,400kw of electricity per year. On average, a typical 3 bedroom home will use about 3,000kw per year in electricity.

Solar panels come with an internal meter which allows you to monitor performance all year round. 

Average Annual Electricity Savings
An average UK 3 bedroom home will save £650 per year on electricity costs based on 2021 figures. This could be substantially more based on 2023 energy prices.

How do air source heat pumps work?

Modern Air Source Heat Pumps are incredibly efficient and are able to perform well all year round, even during cold conditions. They can extract heat from the air in temperatures as low as -27°C and there are more heat pumps in colder European countries than anywhere else in the world.

Air Source Heat Pumps work in the reverse of a refrigerator. The pump absorbs heat from the outside air and boils refrigerant liquid to produce a gas which is compressed to increase its temperature. This heat is then transferred into your home via an exchanger to warm your radiators, water & heat your home home.

Heat pumps are highly efficient, generating up to four kilowatts of heat from only one kilowatt of electricity. As a result of their efficiency and renewable source of heat, heat pumps are an attractive alternative to traditional fossil fuel-based heating systems.

There are many misconceptions surrounding Air Source Heat Pumps in the UK, but advances in technology and manufacturing mean that the latest heat pumps from manufacturers are one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. 

How much a heat pump could save you per year vs your current heat source

Potential annual savings switching to a standard air source heat pump in an average sized, three-bedroom semi-detached home. Source Energy Saving Trust.

Which insulation do I need?

One of the most important parts of improving the energy performance and saving on the energy cost of a domestic property is with insulation. Extensive heat can be lost from a property through poor insulation and can substantially increase energy costs.

  • Poor wall insulation accounts for between 35-40% heat loss in homes
  • Approximately 25% of heat is lost through poor loft insulation
  • It is estimated 10-20% of heat can be lost through uninsulated floors

As part of the ECO4 scheme, a range of insulation options are included based on property structure and suitability. 

Loft insulation creates a barrier between the living space and roof of your home. It is generally made from mineral wool and is installed in rolls across your attic floor. 

Internal wall insulation involves fitting insulation boards or quilted insulation to the interior walls of a property, which are then covered with plasterboard or other materials to create a smooth, finished surface.

Cavity wall insulation involves filling the gap between the two layers of a property’s exterior walls with insulation material which is blown into the cavity through small holes in the external brickwork.

Under floor insulation is generally installed in properties with suspended flooring. The insulation material is laid between the joists and is either in the form of foam boards or a mineral wool similar to loft insulation. 

Get insulation with the ECO4 scheme
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