Following months of pressure from civil society groups, the UK Government signed on 28th November 2022, a public information campaign for improving home energy efficiency backed with £18m. It has also confirmed the details of the next phase of the ECO scheme, ECO+.
In a move that has been advocated by environmentalists, groups representing vulnerable demographics and even the UK Government’s own climate advisors, the UK Government has confirmed a campaign advising members of the public on saving energy at home “without sacrificing comfort”.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed that the campaign will offer information on how people can claim the one-off payments this winter that the Government is offering, and also provide more technical advice on reducing energy use while still keeping warm.
Tips provided will include draught-proofing windows and doors; adjusting the temperature on radiators in empty rooms and reducing boiler flow temperatures to 60oC. Boiler flow temperatures indicate how hot water becomes before it is sent to radiators. This latter change, BEIS claims, could save the average home £160 per year.
Energy Company Obligation ECO+
Also announced by BEIS today are details about the next phase of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. The scheme obliges medium and large energy suppliers to fund the installation of energy efficiency improvements in British households, prioritizing those most in need, including pensioners, low-income families with young children and those on means-tested benefits.
BEIS has confirmed that the new ECO phase, ECO+, will be available to a wider range of groups, with the aim of helping all who do not currently have access to any other government funding to improve home energy efficiency. It will include £1bn of funding – 80% of which will be made available to homes in lower council tax brackets with an EPC rating of ‘D’ or below.
ECO+ will run for up to three years from next spring. BEIS estimates that it will save the average home around £310 on annual energy bills.
The UK Government is notably aiming for all homes to reach EPC grade ‘C’ or higher by 2035. Currently, 46% of homes meet this level of energy performance. The Climate Change Committee and other groups have recommended that the Government brings forward a new national home retrofit scheme in the near-term to get the nation on track to meet the 2035 goal.