The UK government has implemented various strategies to secure energy affordability and eco-friendliness for households and businesses.
One of the recent additions to the government’s plans is the Great British Insulation Scheme as an initiative to improve energy affordability. But what exactly is this scheme? How does it help homeowners with the rising costs of energy? And how can you apply?
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the Great British Insulation Scheme, including its benefits, eligibility criteria, and how to benefit from it.
What Is The Great British Insulation Scheme?
The Great British Insulation Scheme, also known as “GBIS”, is one of the latest government initiatives to improve home insulation efficiency in British households. The program will be administered by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).
The scheme aims to provide homeowners with assistance to insulate their properties, which will help them become more energy efficient. As a result, these homes will use less energy for temperature control while also saving extra money on energy bills.
The scheme is supposed to be a complementary initiative to the ongoing ECO4 scheme, which is why it was previously known as “ECO+”. The government kicked off the scheme in April 2023 and is expected to keep it running for around 3 years (until March 2026).
Who Is Funding The Scheme?
GBIS is funded by the government and delivered by the largest energy suppliers in Great Britain.
This includes any company that serves more than 150,000 domestic households, such as British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, and OVO Energy.
The scheme funding is projected to be around £1 billion, but it’s still unclear exactly how much the final scheme cost will be following its completion.
One thing you should know here is that the energy companies won’t be doing the insulation installations themselves.
Instead, they will be obligated to identify eligible households to get the insulation installed and improve their energy efficiency rating, whether fully or partially. A government-approved GBIS scheme installer, such as Effective Home, will then carry out the installation of your insulation measure.
You’ll only have to pay us if you only qualify for partial funding, in which case you’ll be responsible for the remainder of the bill. If you qualify for full funding, then the government pays the installer directly, so you don’t need to worry about paying for a thing.
Who Can Benefit From The Great British Insulation Scheme?
The Great British Insulation Scheme is expected to help around 300,000 households across the nation, and it’s also open to both homeowners and tenants of all financial backgrounds as long as they’re eligible for the insulation benefits.
This means that the GBIS is most likely to benefit people who live in relatively older or less energy-efficient homes. It also mainly helps low-income households and tenants who might not be able to fund the insulation process on their own.
What Is The Eligibility Criteria Of The Great British Insulation Scheme?
The GBIS has a broad range of eligibility to try to cover as many households as possible. The primary criterion to be eligible for the program is households with a relatively low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, specifically from D to G.
Additionally, properties within the council tax bands from A to D in England as well as A to E in Wales and Scotland should also be eligible under the scheme.
If you want to find out more about your household’s energy rating, you can check your EPC register on the official government website through address, postcode, or certificate number.
Moreover, groups that receive a variety of low-income benefits could also be eligible for the scheme. This includes any of the following means-tested benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit Saving Credit
- Pension Guarantee Credit
There’s also a GBIS referral programme that allows Local Authorities (LAs) and Devolved Administrations (DAs) to expand the eligibility criteria to add households in their area that they believe are in need of insulation.
For that reason, even if you don’t automatically qualify for the insulation scheme through the criteria above, you might still be eligible for the insulation funding via your local authority, so it’s always best to check.
Qualifying Under The Low Income Group
If you’re considered eligible for the scheme because of a low income and low EPC rating combined, then you might also qualify for a secondary measure – typically heating controls such as thermostats where none are present – to support the least energy efficient homes in Great Britain.
Your insulation upgrade here will be supported by a heating control to further reduce the heating you use and therefore the carbon emissions your home produces – which is the main aim of GBIS to begin with. This will have the secondary benefits of reducing your energy bills even further, because you’ll be able to control your heating much more effectively and reduce its running costs as a result.
What If You Don’t Qualify For The Scheme?
If you don’t qualify for the GBIS, you’re not completely out of luck, as there are still a few things you can do to insulate your home and save money on your energy bills.
For starters, you should contact your local authority and see if you qualify for the GBIS Flex program, which has a wider range of eligibility requirements.
Next, you should check other government schemes, as each one has unique eligibility criteria, so you might qualify for one of them.
Additionally, you can contact energy suppliers and insulation installers and inquire about discounts and low-rate quotes to get the best possible price.
What Type Of Insulation Measures Does The GBIS Offer?
The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) offers a wide range of insulation measures, but you will receive a single insulation method that’s most suitable for your home out of the following options:
- Loft Insulation: This is the most common type of insulation covered under the scheme and also one of the most affordable techniques. It involves adding insulation material to the loft space in houses to prevent heat from escaping through walls and roofs, improving energy efficiency by up to 25%.
- Cavity Wall Insulation: This type of insulation is installed in the gaps and cavities between the outer and inner walls of a property. It can be injected in liquid form or installed as rolls or slabs.
- Solid Wall Insulation: This type of insulation is installed on the outside or inside of solid walls. It is mainly applied to relatively older homes that don’t have cavity walls.
- Room in Roof Insulation: A type of insulation board that fits between the rafters below plasterboard walls or converted lofts.
- Under-Floor Insulation: This type of insulation is installed under the floorboards or concrete floor to prevent heat from escaping.
- Pitched Roof Insulation: This one is installed on the inside of the roof of a pitched roof house, which prevents the heat from escaping or cold drafts from entering through roof spaces.
The specific insulation measures that are available to you will depend on the type of property you live in and its current insulation levels. You will typically get an energy assessment to identify the best insulation measures for your home that will provide you with the best results.
You should also note that some of these insulation methods are quite expensive. When these installations are necessary, homeowners might need to contribute to the overall installation funding.
How Much Can You Save With The Scheme?
This mainly depends on the type of insulation that you need to install and how much your energy supplier is going to pay for it. For example, the average cost of a loft insulation installation is around £900 while cavity wall insulation can reach up to £2,500 or more.
In that case, getting the installations done under the scheme can save you up to 100% of these costs. Even with partial savings, you’ll pay significantly less than you would otherwise have to.
Besides direct savings, the scheme can also save you money indirectly. According to the UK government website, households can save anywhere between £300 to £400 per year on energy bills by installing proper insulation under the Great British Insulation Scheme.
This is because your new insulation measure will prevent the heat from escaping in the winter and keep the indoor temperature cool during the summer, which can massively reduce energy bills and add up to significant sums per year.
Do Homeowners Need To Pay For Any GBIS-Related Installations?
Since the level of funding of this scheme is left up to scheme assessors, they get to control the amount of money you qualify for.
In other words, whether homeowners need to pay or not can vary depending on various factors, mainly their personal circumstances and the type of insulation necessary for their houses and whether your funding covers this or not.
If the cost of the installation required exceeds the allocated funding offered by the scheme, you might need to contribute to getting the insulation installed.
How Does GBIS Work?
Here’s a brief overview of the steps towards benefiting from the Great British Insulation Scheme:
- Check the eligibility criteria for the scheme as well as the referral program by contacting local authorities to see if you qualify for the GBIS benefits.
- Request an assessment/survey from an installer to see the most appropriate insulation method to install in your house.
- After the survey, you’ll be provided with a report detailing the expenses that the supplier will take care of and any expenses that you might need to contribute to.
- The installer (us, if you decide to work with Effective Home) will carry out the insulation technique according to the survey.
The GBIS is a win-win for everyone involved. It helps households save money on their energy bills, reduces carbon emissions, and even creates jobs in the insulation industry. Meanwhile, it also eases the load on the government’s energy resources.
Effective Home offers competitive quotes on various insulation measures, so make sure that you contact us to find out more about how much you can save on your energy bills!