How to share in £630m of grants to improve energy efficiency

Thousands of homes will share £630m in grants to improve energy efficiency – including free insulation and heat pumps: What you need to know

  • Cash will be available to low-income and energy inefficient homes from April
  • But the scheme works like a postcode lottery, as not all regions have signed up 

Tens of thousands of households will soon be able to apply for £630 million in energy efficiency improvements including free insulation and heat pumps.

That is because the Government has just put that cash into its Home Upgrade Fund, which is open to low-income and some other homes that are not energy efficient – so long as they live in the right areas. 

The idea is that 25,000 properties can get financial help to improve energy efficiency. 

This includes free exterior wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, new windows and doors and draft proofing measures, as well as heat pumps and solar panel installation. 

The Government estimates this upgrade work could save households between £220 and £400 a year on energy bills, on average.

Roll-out: The Government is soon making millions of pounds available to households in need of energy efficiency improvements

Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive of charity Energy UK, said: ‘Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s draughty homes and buildings is the best way to cut energy bills permanently, while also boosting the UK’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions.’ 

But the exact details of the Home Upgrade Fund are still being worked out. 

This is everything we know so far about how the scheme works, who is eligible and how they get their hands on home upgrade cash. 

Who is eligible to apply to the Home Upgrade Fund? 

The scheme is open to households who do not have mains gas, are on low incomes, or have property energy efficiency in bands D to G – the lowest bands.

This includes homeowners and renters, though the latter will need their landlord’s permission – and the landlord may need to pay for a third of the work. 

But the scheme is a postcode lottery, because not all UK households will be able to apply for it. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is giving the cash out to local authorities, who in turn will pass it on to households in their local area.

Not a fan: The new scheme also allows heat pump installation, depending on where you live, but not all Britons are keen to get the devices installed

Not a fan: The new scheme also allows heat pump installation, depending on where you live, but not all Britons are keen to get the devices installed

Not every local council has applied for the cash, and not all of those that did apply were successful.

Here is how much every UK region is getting from the Home Upgrade Fund: 

  • West Midlands: £152.7million
  • East Midlands: £3.2million
  • London: £12million
  • North West: £83.8million
  • South West: £77.5million
  • South East: £161.2million
  • East of England: £23.5million
  • North East: £28.5million
  • Yorkshire & the Humber: £41.1million

The scheme will run from April 2023 until March 2025. 

What do I get under the Home Upgrade Fund?

This is where it gets a bit vague.

Each council has the flexibility to administer the cash in a slightly different way, and will have slightly different requirements.

So in some areas homeowners will get cash directly, while in others the council will hire a contractor and pay them to do the work.

For example, councils including Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have not announced what they will do with their cash yet.

In Oxfordshire County Council, eligible properties cannot have a household income of above £31,000.

The council will then prioritise fitting insulation, then sustainable heating, which includes air source heat pumps. After that comes solar panels.

In areas such as North Yorkshire County Council, properties need a household income of £30,000 or below to qualify, or be on income-related benefits.

They will then get a council survey and be in line for up to £25,000 of cash to upgrade their homes. 

This includes exterior and interior insulation, solar panels and heat pumps. 

How can I apply for the Home Upgrade Fund?

You will have to apply directly to your local council once the scheme opens in April 2023.

Some local authorities already have mailing lists you can sign up to now, in order to be the first to know when schemes finally do launch. 

You can find your local council, and their contact details, using this Government website.