Introduced in 2013, the ECO initiative requires energy suppliers to install cost-effective energy saving solutions in some of the UK’s most vulnerable properties, without breaking the bank of eligible homeowners.
These measures can include insulation, heat pumps, boiler replacements or solar panels. Sometimes a small fee is needed for installation costs, but these upgrades are sometimes free.
ECO4 was introduced by the government in April 2022 and will run until 31 March 2026.
The scheme is part of the government’s commitment to making all housing stock more energy efficient by 2035.
It’s a continuation of ECO3, but with some important changes that are designed to make the scheme more customer-friendly, such as a greater focus on low-income households and areas of high fuel poverty.
What’s Covered in the ECO4 Scheme?
The ECO4 scheme covers a range of energy saving solutions that can be applied to existing homes, such as:
Cavity wall, solid wall, room in a roof and loft insulation are some of the insulation measures available through ECO4, but this depends on individual household circumstances.
The ECO4 Scheme takes a fabric-first approach, meaning that it aims to make properties more energy efficient before considering any other measures, like heating upgrades.
Green heating systems
The installation of green heating systems, such as air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers is also covered by the ECO4 scheme. These state-of-the-art heating systems can be used to replace outdated, inefficient boilers and can provide households with up to a 25% reduction in their energy bills.
Households can still benefit from solar panel installation through the ECO4 Scheme; however, this is only if a heat pump or biomass boiler has been ruled out.
There have also been changes in the Child Benefit threshold under the ECO4 Scheme:
Changes to the number of measures installed under Local Authority Flexible Energy
While the ECO3 Scheme was running, energy companies were allowed to use up to 25% of their obligation through Local Authority Flexible Energy rules.
These rules allow councils to set their own eligibility criteria, helping homes that don’t claim benefits access funding.
However, through the ECO4 Scheme this has been doubled to 50%.
How to apply for the ECO4 Scheme
If you live in the UK and fit the criteria, you can apply for the ECO4 scheme today by contacting energy suppliers and asking what measures they offer. It is important to note that you cannot directly apply for ECO funds, as this must be done through an energy supplier.