In short, ECO 4 is a government scheme that allows people to access money to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The way ECO4 works is by opening up avenues to receive grants from certain energy suppliers and it’s available to people living in fuel poverty or in unsuitable homes.
It covers items like new insulation, more efficient heating, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps and, of course, solar energy systems.
Covered by ECO4:
- Wall Insulation
- First Time Central Heating
- Loft Insulation
- Same Room Insulation
- Solar Panels
- Window Improvements (Double to triple)
- Air Source Heat Pumps
- Boiler Repair
- Boiler Replacement
How can ECO4 improve my home?
How does anything previously mentioned help you in a practical sense?
Loft insulation is probably the most well know way of improving the efficiency of your home.
Which magazine claims you can reduce your energy bills by up to £315 per year by having a properly insulated loft.
It’s always worth checking your loft and seeing what’s up there, for all you know the insulation may have been there since the house was built.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Again, another thing we all know the name of, but probably don’t know if we have it or can get it.
Your home could be losing up to 33% of its heat just through the walls. That’s like throwing money out of your windows.
Internal Wall Insulation
Modern buildings don’t tend to have solid walls, but the rich history of Britain means some of us are living in houses that could be 100s of years old.
When this is the case you could be losing up to 45% of the heat in your home through the walls.
Adding internal insulation, which is a kind of wall covering, you could save between £115 to £415 a year on your heating bills!
Room in Roof Insulation
Mostly this only really matters in loft conversions, but you could go the whole hog and insulate between floors too.
Again, saves heat and therefore money.
FTCH (First Time Central Heating)
Believe it or not, some homes still don’t have central heating – and ECO4 can certainly help you get a system fitted.
You would also qualify if you have Electric Room or Panel heaters or old Storage heaters but no gas central heating.
Daughtry windows, or single pane glass, will be stealing all your heat!
Warm air is attracted to cold air, so if a window is letting the cold in, it’s also letting the heat out.
Modern window units allow the rooms to air while keeping the heat trapped in your home.
Solar Energy Systems
Free electricity! And it’s green too.
Adding a solar energy system to your home can raise your EPC rating by up to 15 points, save you nearly £800 on your bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
It’s probably the least intrusive home improvement you can get as there is no need to do much drilling, cutting or wall moving.
What is the ECO4 scheme?
ECO doesn’t stand for ’ecological’ surprisingly, it’s actually an acronym for Energy Company Obligation – differentiating it from any other grants or funding that can be applied for elsewhere.
It replaces the ECO 3 scheme that ran until April 2022, and there have been changes to the eligibility criteria.
There are many versions of the scheme depending on your location, your financial circumstances, the energy company involved and your home.
Many solar companies will try to lure you in with promises of ‘free’ solar but don’t be fooled, there are a lot of conditions to the ECO 4 scheme and none of them are controlled by solar installers.
Eco 4 funding is means tested, benefit dependent and, most importantly, must be worth the outlay.
What companies are signed up to ECO4?
Any energy provider with more than 150,000 customers is obliged to offer ECO4.
Those providers include:
- British Gas
- ESB Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Outfox The Market
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power
- Shell Energy
- SO Energy
- The Co-Operative Energy
- The Utility Warehouse
- Utilita Energy
EPC Ratings and ECO 4
The EPC rating of your home denotes just how energy efficient it is and the scale goes from G, which is very bad, through to A, which is excellent.
New builds are the only kind of home that has any chance of getting an A rating, as the house would have to have perfect insulation, windows, ventilation, heating and appliances.
Most homes fall between B and D.
To be eligible for ECO4 your property will have to have an EPC rating of D, E, F or G.
A D rating is a fairly good rating in the eyes of the government, which means the energy companies are only allowed to spend 15% of their funding on Band D properties.
So, applications for properties with an E, F or G rating are much more likely to be accepted.
You may have to look elsewhere if your home is D or above.
Check your EPC Rating.
Who can take advantage of the ECO4 scheme?
Any grant available through the ECO4 scheme is determined through a DWP check
This will determine that you are on the correct benefits and that you are a homeowner or tenant.
Landlords are encouraged to ask their tenants to apply as it will improve the home for said tenant and make the home more suitable for renting.
If you aren’t on any kind of benefits, don’t worry, you can still apply for some grants via the LA Flex scheme.
The ‘LA’ stands for ‘Local Authority’ meaning the council will assess your needs and decide if you are eligible.
Not all councils participate though, so make sure you check.
What benefits are eligible for ECO 4?
As the ECO 3 scheme reduced the number of benefits that made you eligible, we made a list of what qualifies.
- Child Tax Credits
- Child Benefits – income dependent
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related Employment & Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit
- Warm Home Discount Scheme Rebate
- Working Tax Credit
And here is what was previously available but is no longer on the list:
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)*
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)*
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Severe Disablement Allowance*
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
Are there earning related barriers to ECO4?
Yes, in a word, but there are also lots of exceptions and criteria.
Child Benefit is the only benefit that is means tested when it comes to applying for ECO4, and the limits are as follows:
- A single adult with 1 child: £19,900
- A single adult with 2 children: £24,800
- A single adult with 3 children: £29,600
- A single adult with 4 or more children: £34,500
- Couple with 1 child: £27,500
- Couple with 2 children: £32,300
- Couple with 3 children: £37,200
- Couple with 4 or more children: £42,000
(based on Ofgem’s Administration Consultation released on 13 June 2022)
What other grants can be combined with ECO4?
If you have qualified for an ECO4 installation you cannot mix that funding with any other government grant, such as Warm Home Discount (WHD), Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and Home Upgrade Grant (HUG).
However, if the ECO4 work is finished, or not due to start for some time, you may be able to apply for other grants to help you with fuel efficiency.
Why should I apply for ECO4?
Apart from the fact ECO4 will help you afford to add energy saving features to your home, which will also save you money in the future, ECO4 will not last forever.
The schemes is already in its fourth phase, hence the ‘4’, and will be discontinued in 31 March 2026.
So, if you feel it will benefit your home, you’d be advised to apply as soon as possible.
How do I apply for ECO4?
The first you need to do is find out if you are eligible.
There are many companies offering ECO4, so just pick one of them and either call them or fill out a form.
Once they have assessed your eligibility, they will come and survey your home to make sure everything is legit and the measure you have chosen will be beneficial.
If everything is tickety-boo, you’ll be able to continue with the installation.
The best place to start is by contacting your energy company, we have gathered all the contact details below.
|Lakeside, 30 The Causeway
TW18 3BY. Email: ECO scheme – British Gas
EC2M 3TQ. Email: email@example.com
|E (Gas and Electricity)
Energy Services Manager,
E (Gas & Electricity) Ltd,
B37 7ES. Email: ECO@E.org
Head of Obligation Delivery,
Little Oak Drive,
NG15 0DR. Tel: 07790 948592
GL5 3BY. Tel: 01453 761 380
|Green Hub (ECO Team): 0333 200 5119
|Tel: 0788 037 8170
|16 North Mills,
LE3 5DL. Tel: 0800 103 2702
Business Development Manager
320 St Vincent Street
G2 5AD Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shell Energy Retail Limited,
Shell Energy House,
Westwood Business Park,
CV14 8HS. Email: email@example.com
United Kingdom House,
164-183 Oxford Street,
W1D 1NN. Tel: 0808 164 1088
BS1 6ED. Email: ECO@ovoenergy.com
|The Utility Warehouse,
333 Edgware Road,
NW9 6TD. Tel: 0800 781 7777
|Utilita Energy Ltd,
SO23 7RX. Tel: 03452 072 000
Ensure that you:
- Get all the paperwork together that confirms your income and any benefits you receive.
- Make sure to check out Citizen’s Advice, Contact Consumer Rights and similar consumer groups who will assist you in finding out if you’re fully eligible and help you navigate the application process
- Choose a company, lead generator or consumer group where you can complete the application form and submit the necessary documentation.
- You will then be contacted and an installer we arrange a survey.
- Once approved, the installers will treat you like any other customer as they do the work and sort all the necessary paperwork.
Do I have to contribute to the cost of the ECO4?
The nature of the ECO4 scheme means it’s very adaptable to circumstances and financing.
As we said, the only benefit that is means tested in relation to ECO is Child Benefit.
From a more personal perspective, any funding you will receive will vary from company to company, job to job and home to home.
It also depends on the kind of measure you are looking at, some green tech can be quite expensive to install and you will only receive funding up to a certain level.
If all that sounds a bit vague, that’s because it is.
Each application for funding will be assessed on an individual basis, so outcomes can be very different.
If your neighbour and you applied at the same time, the results would be very different for each of you – especially if you have gone for the LA FLEX/LADS route.
Who do I contact if I have a query or complaint about my installation?
The ECO4 scheme, though government led, is provided through the energy suppliers.
So, they would be your first port of call if you have any serious issues with your installer.
If you have a problem with equipment or workmanship, you should contact the installer.
Can I receive ECO4 funding and choose my installer?
This is a grey area. Strictly speaking you should be able to appoint an installer, however, as the funding is provided through energy suppliers, they are unlikely to use unapproved installers.
Do I have to apply to my own energy supplier to get ECO support?
Not at all. It maybe easier but anyone on the list of providers is obligated to help you.
Can my installer sort out my ECO4 funding for me?
‘Installers are not approved by Ofgem under the ECO scheme. The role of Ofgem is to administer ECO and it is for the obligated energy companies to arrange the delivery of the energy efficiency measures.’
You can find out more about what Ofgem do on their About the ECO scheme webpage.
What should I look out for in an ECO4 approved installer?
For most ECO installs the fitter must be, or under the responsibility of, a person who is registered with TrustMark, or equivalent.
Installers registered with TrustMark will have a registration number.
Sor Solar installation, make sure the fitter is MCS registered.