The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), in simple terms – is a government energy efficiency scheme for Great Britain. Administered by Ofgem, ECO4 is the fourth term of the scheme that continues from(you guessed it) ECO3. The difference between ECO3 and ECO4 is the criteria for eligibility to benefit from the scheme.
ECO4 has been introduced with a focus on supporting those who live in fuel poor households, to reduce energy bills, boost their home’s energy efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions by improving the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for qualifying homes across the country. ECO4 is scheduled to run until March 2026 with £1b a year of funding allocated to pay for the improvements to people’s homes.
Tackling climate change, the scheme was introduced in attempt to improve the least energy-efficient homes in the UK as a way to meet the 2050 net-zero strategy goal. The goal being that all houses in the UK have an EPC rating of C or above. The scheme is paid for by energy companies, not the government.
ECO4, and its predecessors has been put in place to aid Great Britain’s ‘net-zero’ target of being completely carbon neutral by 2050.
ECO4 specifically has been put in place and tailored to target homes on low incomes and vulnerable households in fuel poverty in order to get them the access they need to measures that would otherwise be unavailable to them, in order to help them improve their home’s Energy Performance.
By improving the EPC rating of houses in the UK that are rated D,E,F, and G the government aims to be able to both achieve its carbon neutral target, whilst at the same time helping vulnerable homes with support that will buffer them against rises in energy costs and energy insecurity.
To take advantage of ECO4 there are 5 easy steps that need to be taken:
First, check your eligibility. Second, we will match you with a trusted, vetted installer based on your location. Third, your installer will carry out a survey on your home. Fourth, The installer will decide based on the survey which installation/measures are required to meet the ECO4 scheme and grant permission for the funding. Fifth, The measures are installed, and your home becomes more energy efficient.
It sounds incredibly simple, and it really is. There are specific criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for the scheme, and the free home improvements you can receive as a part of the ECO programme. If you would like to check whether you are eligible for ECO4 then you can click here and fill out the form and we’ll be able to help. There is also a way with ECO4 to able to take advantage of the scheme, even if you don’t meet the pre-set criteria.
There are some local authorities that are participating in a program called “LA Flex”, which is also sometimes called “ECO4 Flex”.
Under these circumstances there are some participating local authorities throughout the country that can recommend private tenured households to the scheme. The local authority has to consider these households being in fuel poverty or on a low income and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home in order to recommend them.
Through ECO4 there are a number of different ways that your home could be improved and your EPC rating increased. When it comes to increasing EPC ratings in qualifying homes there are strict criteria that installers must meet. Any home that has an F or a G rating will have to be improved to at least a D rating, and any home that has a rating of E or D, will have to be improved to at least a C rating.
This is to ensure that there a great number of energy-efficiency measures that can be made to different homes, and to ensure that a number of low efficiency households are not left out or missed.
ECO4 energy efficiency measures are subject to criteria themselves, with an emphasis on ensuring proper insulation for homes first, through measures like cavity and solid wall insulation, as well as proper loft insulation.
When your home is properly insulated it will be warmer in winter, cooler in summer and subject to far less energy loss than if it were uninsulated, plus proper insulation can help prevent damp and mould forming, as well as help with allergens and pollen getting into your home!
There are other measures available as well to improve EPC ratings through ECO4 including things like the installation of an Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), upgrades to Electric storage heating, gas boiler upgrades for non-condensing and back boilers, and even the installation of Solar Panel systems!
Beyond just the benefits for individual homes and their EPC ratings, ECO4 will help the UK make great strides towards its targets of “net zero” for 2050. This will help reduce the carbon footprint of the country and let us take even great strides down the road to a more sustainable and greener future.
ECO4 is a great scheme, but being so new it can be a little confusing. We’ve put together some guides to go into more detail about all aspects of ECO4 and help arm you with as much knowledge as possible.
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