Climate change is a big issue, and one that affects us all. To help our planet, we can look at reducing our own carbon footprint, which can be done by looking closer to home – literally. How we heat our homes can make a big impact both environmentally and financially.

Talk of solar panels and wind turbines is one thing, but they are expensive. What about those of us who do not have the cash or space for such installations? This is where the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) can be the answer.

Energy Company Obligation

So, what is it and how does it work?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) began in April 2013, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of households nationwide, while also helping to eliminate fuel poverty. More recently the government introduced ECO3, in December 2018. This updated version of the scheme focuses on those who are from lower income households or who are more vulnerable, like the elderly.  It will run until at least March 2022.  All major UK energy providers are involved such as: Scottish Gas, SSE, EDF Energy etc., and are obligated to help with improvements to make your home more energy efficient.

This is all sounds brilliant, but do I qualify?

There are a variety of factors that can determine whether you are eligible for ECO. It’s available to homeowners and people who live in a private rented property, although you will need your landlord’s permission. The scheme also extends to those that live in social housing , where the property has an energy rating certificate of E, F or G – you can find out the energy rating of your home by checking the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Other beneficiaries of the scheme include households claiming benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Benefit, and disability benefits. If you are unsure about whether you are eligible for the scheme you can contact us for more information. Energy Saving Trust and Home Energy Scotland are also available to help.

What improvements does the ECO scheme make to your home?

There are a few ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. These can include insulation of either the loft, under your floors or in your wall cavities. However, the most popular option has been gas boiler replacement. If your boiler is of a certain age then it is most likely costing you money as well as increasing your carbon footprint.

If your boiler is more than seven years old or is not a condensing boiler, then it can be replaced under the scheme with a modern and more energy efficient combi boiler. Or if your house has more than one bathroom, you can install a system boiler, enabling you to run more than one hot tap at the same time – imagine the bliss!