– The article was updated on 24 September 2023
The Cold Reality of British Homes
Many UK homes, especially the least energy efficient homes, face the challenge of high energy bills, particularly during colder months. The root cause? A lack of effective energy efficiency measures. The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) emerges as a solution, aiming to address this widespread issue.
But what if there was a solution, a beacon of warmth on the horizon for those who need help with gas and electric bills? Is GBIS Britain’s answer to the cold home dilemma?
An Overview of the Great British Insulation Scheme
The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) is a pioneering government-backed initiative, aiming to significantly enhance the energy efficiency of British homes, especially in low income group. As energy efficiency measures become increasingly crucial in today’s world, the GBIS stands out as a beacon of hope for homeowners looking to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their heating bills.
Cavity Wall and Solid Wall Insulation
One of the primary insulation measures promoted by the GBIS is cavity wall insulation. Many homes lose a significant amount of heat through their walls. By addressing this heat loss, cavity wall insulation ensures better heat retention, leading to substantially reduced bills. This measure not only makes homes warmer but also contributes to the broader goal of energy efficiency measures improvements across the nation.
Heat naturally rises, and without proper insulation, a significant amount of this heat can escape through the roofs of homes. Recognising this, the GBIS actively promotes loft insulation. By preventing warmth from escaping, loft insulation plays a pivotal role in ensuring homes remain cosy during colder months. Moreover, it’s a step forward in making homes inclusive of energy efficient measures, aligning with the objectives of the British Insulation Scheme.
Smart Heating Controls
The GBIS understands that insulation is just one piece of the heating system efficiency puzzle. Beyond traditional insulation measures, the scheme also encourages homeowners to adopt smart heating controls. Advanced systems such us heating thermostats or smart meters allow homeowners to optimise their energy consumption, ensuring that they use only the energy they need, when they need it. This not only reduces energy bills but also ensures a more sustainable and energy-efficient household.
Benefits of Joining the Scheme
Joining the GBIS offers a plethora of advantages, ensuring energy efficient homes for all:
- Financial Savings: By focusing on home insulation, particularly for internal and external walls, the scheme ensures that households can achieve significant savings. Effective insulation, including cavity wall and solid wall insulation, can lead to reductions of up to £500 on energy bills annually. This is especially beneficial for vulnerable households and those with a lower total household income.
- Boosted Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Rating: A home’s energy efficiency is gauged by its EPC rating. By participating in the insulation scheme and opting for insulation upgrades, homeowners can significantly boost their home’s EPC rating.  This not only makes the property more attractive in the real estate market but can also lead to lower council tax bands, further aiding in financial savings.
- Addressing Fuel Poverty: One of the primary goals of the British insulation scheme is to combat fuel poverty. Many low-income and vulnerable households struggle with heat loss, leading to higher heating bills and a reliance on inefficient heating systems. By providing free insulation, especially for social housing and privately rented properties, the scheme ensures homes are both warm and affordable. Moreover, eligible social housing properties might also receive heating controls, heat pumps, and even solar panels as part of the scheme’s broader energy efficiency help.
- Eligibility Criteria: The scheme is inclusive, targeting a wide range of households. Whether you belong to the general group or are part of the low-income bracket, there are provisions to assist. For instance, those on income-related employment benefits or residing in social housing can benefit from single insulation measures or even comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades. Collaborations with energy providers ensure that the scheme’s benefits are widespread and accessible.
Collaborative Efforts for a Warmer Future
The Great British Insulation Scheme is a government initiative that thrives on collaboration. It brings together government bodies, energy suppliers, housing associations, social housing providers, and homeowners to create a warmer, more energy-efficient future. Key collaborations include:
- Council Tax Band Incentives: Some local authorities, in partnership with housing associations and private landlords, are considering aligning council tax bands with EPC ratings. This means that if your property qualifies with improved energy efficiency, you could save money on your council tax.
- Support from Energy Suppliers: Under the Energy Company Obligation, energy suppliers are extending support to homeowners. This is especially beneficial for those on housing benefit, universal credit, income support, support allowance, child benefit, and pension credit. The goal is to help homeowners reduce their energy use and improve their home’s energy efficiency.
- Role of UK Energy Support – our company is a pivotal player in the Great British Insulation Scheme in connecting homeowners with energy suppliers. Once we confirm your eligibility, we ensure that the necessary measures are installed in strict accordance with Ofgem’s rules, including the installation of new insulation for both internal as well as external walls. This entire process is carried out at no cost to the customer, ensuring that homeowners can benefit from the scheme without any financial burden.
The scheme emphasises multiple insulation grants such as cavity and solid wall insulations. These measures are essential for homes to retain more heat, ensuring they consume more energy efficiently.
Beyond the warmth and comfort, improved insulation can lead to potential council tax reductions. This is a significant incentive for homeowners to adopt the measures, allowing them to save money in the long run.
The GBIS is especially beneficial for those seeking free grants for low-income families and households. Whether you’re a tenant, private landlord, or someone on housing benefit, the scheme ensures you can enjoy a warmer home without financial strain. Additionally, an online service is available to help homeowners check their eligibility and understand the benefits they can avail.
Get a UK grant
Find out if you qualify for a free insulation and heating system grant
Homeowners & private tenants
Recipients of benefits
Save ££££ thousands of pounds on FREE insulation & heating installation
It only takes 2 min
* based on Energy Saving Trust
Criticisms and Controversies Surrounding the Great British Insulation Scheme
While the GBIS, in collaboration with each energy companies and local authorities, aims to boost the energy performance certificate ratings of homes and reduce energy bills, it has faced challenges from the Local Government Association (LGA):
- Progress & Impact: The scheme’s support dropped from half a million homes in 2013 to 60,000 in 2022. This decline, especially for the low income group, led to households missing out on potential savings of £2 billion.
- Future Concerns: At the current rate:
- 2.4 million fuel-poor homes will lack support by 2030.
- Achieving home insulation goals will take 50 and 60 years, respectively, despite a net zero target in 27 years.
- New boilers, which aren’t sustainable long-term, dominate the scheme’s measures.
- Localised Approach: The LGA suggests devolving energy efficiency schemes to councils for targeted, effective implementation. Research supports that local strategies are more cost-effective than national ones.
Other concerns include:
- Duration and Scope Concerns: Industry data indicates GBIS would need 190 years to enhance UK home energy efficiency and 300 years for fuel poverty targets. With an aim to insulate 300,000 homes in three years, critics believe it’s inadequate for the 19 million homes needing insulation.
- Comparison with Previous Efforts: The Labour party notes the current energy upgrade rate is 20 times slower than their previous tenure.
- Industry Feedback: The Labour party notes the current energy upgrade rate is 20 times slower than their previous tenure.
- Targeting Concerns: NEA reports the scheme doesn’t sufficiently focus on the most needy, fuel-poor households. Achieving targets for these homes would take about 300 years, missing the 2030 deadline.
- Pace: Despite the importance of insulation grants for the UK’s 2050 net-zero-carbon goal, energy efficiency installations have declined, with a 96% drop in annual installations by 2021 under the Conservative government.
- Political Commentary: Ed Miliband called out Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for not addressing rising energy bills post-Ukraine conflict.
Is the Great British Insulation Scheme Right for you?
The GBIS, backed by energy suppliers, is not just a program but a commitment to a sustainable future. It aims to ensure every UK resident, especially those with low income, can benefit from single insulation measures and enjoy a warmer, energy-efficient home.
Whether it’s offering free insulation to those on eligible benefits or providing financial incentives like lower council tax bands, the scheme ensures that every Brit, irrespective of their income, can enjoy a warm, energy-efficient home. It’s not just about savings; it’s about building a brighter, warmer future for all.
-  Reducing home heat loss – Cavity wall insulation – energysavingtrust.org.uk
-  Meta-Analysis of Price Premiums in Housing with Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) – semanticscholar.org
-  GB Insulation Scheme (formerly ECO+) Final IA – gov.uk
-  Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Guidance: Delivery – ofgem.gov.uk
-  Energy saving schemes falling short, warn councils – Local Government Association, local.gov.uk
-  UK Insulation Scheme falls short, and may take 300 years to meet targets – Building for Humanity
-  Labour: Warm Homes Plan would save households £500 on energy bills – The Telegraph
-  UK Fuel Poverty Monitor 2021-2022 – National Energy Action charity, nea.org.uk
-  Home insulation and the net zero target – House of Lords Library, lordslibrary.parliament.uk
-  UK insulation scheme would take 300 years to meet government targets, say critics – The Guardian